5 kW single-mode fiber laser is cutting-edge in more ways than one

March 11, 2009--IPG Photonics Corporation (Oxford, MA), which is well-known for producing high-power fiber lasers and amplifiers, has made its first delivery of a 5 kW single-mode fiber laser to a customer in the United States.

March 11, 2009--IPG Photonics Corporation (Oxford, MA), which is well-known for producing high-power fiber lasers and amplifiers, has made its first delivery of a 5 kW single-mode fiber laser to a customer in the United States. This laser represents the latest development in the power scaling of IPG Photonics' high-power single-mode fiber-laser technology, on which the company has patents pending.

The 5 kW laser has a beam quality M2 of 1.2 (an almost perfect Gaussian beam), making it the brightest continuous-wave solid-state laser in production, says IPG. The laser, the YLS-5000-SM, is a "turn-key" package that is quite small (850 mm x 800 mm) and efficient (22% wall-plug efficiency). IPG Laser GmbH, a subsidiary of IPG Photonics, previously delivered a similar unit to a European customer.

Developed for industrial markets, the laser's beam quality will likely spawn new uses, as well as new approaches to existing applications. Because the beam is single-mode, it can be focused to a small spot many meters away from the laser and optics, resulting in truly remote placement of the laser from the working area.

"This level of power and beam quality enables our industrial customers to use fiber lasers for applications which were not previously possible with other lasers, such as assist-free remote cutting as well as remote welding in the automotive, aerospace, and shipbuilding industries," said Bill Shiner, vice president of industrial markets. "The increased power and brightness of this laser allows customers to increase processing speeds and eliminate the use of expensive assist gases in a mobile package."

IPG has also garnered interest in its industrial lasers within defense markets. "There is keen interest within the tactical directed-energy market for single-mode lasers having output power in the range of 5 kW to 10 kW," said Mike O'Connor, director of advanced applications. He noted that IPG can customize the form factor of its lasers and reduce their weight to meet requirements.


--posted by John Wallace, johnw@pennwell.com

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