A team from Civan Lasers (Jerusalem, Israel)—in conjunction with the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (Fraunhofer IWS; Dresden, Germany), Siemens (Munich, Germany), and ThyssenKrupp (Essen, Germany)—has developed a 500 W, single-mode, continuous-wave (CW) 532 nm green laser that represents a significant advancement in the field. Its beam quality and power just broke the world record for this type of laser (see figure and video).
“This isn’t just an advancement, it’s a paradigm shift,” says Yaniv Vidne, vice president of R&D at Civan Lasers.
The laser relies on coherent beam combining, which involves several high-power laser beams essentially funneled into a single coherent beam that puts out correspondingly higher power and preserves spectral bandwidth. Beam brightness is significantly increased in the process. A distinguishing feature in Civan’s laser, according to Vidne, is its “exceptional beam quality.”
“Coherent beam combining is to laser technology what the microprocessor was to computing,” Vidne says. “It’s not just about increasing power; it’s about refining how we approach laser design.”
The laser eliminates any risk to the integrity of a single crystal—a common component. Conventional lasers are known to compromise their systems’ longevity by sometimes pushing too much power through a single crystal channel.
EUREKA, CBC-GREEN, and the future
The record-breaking green laser was developed as part of the EUREKA project—a collaborative group that funds research and development ventures for companies, research organizations, and universities—specifically, its CBC-GREEN initiative. Beyond developing the 532 nm CW laser, the initiative’s goal includes integrating more flexible and efficient processing of copper materials.
Because of their strong electrical and thermal properties, copper materials are crucial to fabricating energy storage systems, power electronics, control systems, and cooling structures. However, processing copper using existing laser methods is limited because those techniques produce a high degree of reflection.
The green laser presents a better approach because it simultaneously allows high power and high beam quality. “This laser holds immense potential,” Vidne says. “The horizon for this technology is vast.”
Along with metal additive manufacturing of copper, the laser shows promise for applications including welding reflective materials such as copper and semiconductor welding—notably, chip-to-wafer welding as an alternative to traditional wire-bonding processes.
As part of the project, the researchers are now investigating the systems engineering development approach of coupling frequency-doubled, single-mode-infrared laser modules with coherent beam combining. This method would enable high CW power in laser machining processes for the first time.
“By combining power and modulation capabilities,” Vidne says, “we’re envisioning a future where this laser replaces traditional non-laser joining methods.”