Alfalight Selected by DARPA for SHEDS Program

Oct. 15, 2003
Madison, WI. - October 15, 2003. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)has awarded Alfalight $3.9 million in R&D funding under the DARPA Super High Efficiency Diode Source (SHEDS) program, with options that could result in a total $5.3 million award. The SHEDS program will investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in semiconductor diode laser bar efficiency.

Madison, WI. - October 15, 2003. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)has awarded Alfalight $3.9 million in R&D funding under the DARPA Super High Efficiency Diode Source (SHEDS) program, with options that could result in a total $5.3 million award. The SHEDS program will investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in semiconductor diode laser bar efficiency.

Currently, diode bar-pumped solid-state laser systems have an overall electrical-to-optical power conversion efficiency, or "wall plug" efficiency, as low as 10%. This means that a 100kW laser, for example, would require 1,000kW of electrical power and would produce 900kW of heat. This heat significantly limits system performance and reliability.

The wall plug efficiency of the semiconductor diode lasers used in this type of system is the largest contributor to overall system wall plug efficiency, and improving the efficiency of the semiconductor diode laser will greatly increase the possible output power and reliability of these laser systems.

Alfalight's Aluminum Free Active-region (ALFA) diode laser bars currently achieve over 50% wall plug efficiency, which represents the best efficiency in the industry today. The goal of the SHEDS program is to increase diode laser wall plug efficiency to 65% in the first 18 months of the project, with a target of 80% in the following 18 months.

"Alfalight has already dedicated significant research and development resources toward improving diode laser efficiency, and DARPA's SHEDS program is the ideal opportunity for us to take our technology to the next level," said Tom Earles, co-founder and chief technical officer of Alfalight. "Funding from DARPA will enable us to enhance our technology to build better diode laser products for the defense industry."

Alfalight is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of highly efficient, reliable, high-powered diode laser solutions for industrial, defense, and telecommunications applications. The Madison, Wisconsin-based company was founded in November of 1998 with technologies developed at the Reed Center of Photonics, an engineering research center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

These patented technologies are based upon the use of Aluminum Free Active-region (ALFA) diode lasers. Alfalight has exclusive licenses to pending laser patents for high-powered narrow spectral-width lasers, single mode lasers and short wavelength lasers, covering wavelengths from 700nm to 1.6um. Alfalight's current high-powered diode laser products include multi-mode bar and single emitter lasers.

For more information, visit www.alfalight.com .

Laser Focus World

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