Four reasons to think thin-disk lasers

Feb. 25, 2014
The current rapid development of high-power laser materials processing boils down to a two-horse race: fiber lasers and thin-disk lasers.
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The current rapid development of high-power laser materials processing technology boils down to a two-horse race: fiber lasers, which are building a commanding global presence and have been led by IPG Photonics, and thin-disk lasers, primarily developed for commercial applications by Trumpf and Jenoptik. We have published many articles showing the power and potential of fiber lasershere are a few sources on the other side of the story:

Photonic Frontiers: Higher powers and shorter pulses from thin-disk lasers, by contributing editor Jeff Hecht

Hecht examines the state of the art in thin-disk laser technology. Thin disks are more than another way to generate high CW powers from solid-state lasers—their low nonlinearity allows high peak powers in picosecond pulses for high-precision drilling and cold ablation cutting many materials.

SPIE video of Adolf Giesen describing the development of the disk laser

The inventor of thin-disk laser technology gives an interesting talk about how he and colleagues developed the first thin-disk laser in the early 1990s.

High-power laser diode modules pump disk lasers

Engineers from Trumpf write about the company's laser diode systems for pumping disk lasers. The company's ultrafast thin-disk laser won the German Future Prize in 2013.

Thin-disk laser system from Boeing achieves directed-energy weapons status

As with the fiber laser, the thin-disk laser can be used as a directed energy weapon. A thin-disk laser system from Boeing, which integrates a series of high-power industrial lasers to generate one concentrated, high-energy beam, exceeded required thresholds for power and beam quality during a demonstration for the U.S. Department of Defense's Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) effort. The laser system output reached more than 30 kWnearly 30% more power than RELI requirements.

About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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