Photonics West 2001: Product Highlights

Jan. 24, 2001
Coherent Laser Div. (Santa Clara, Ca) has unveiled a prototype 488-nm solid-state optically pumped semiconductor laser at Photonics West, which is running this week in San Jose, CA.

Coherent Laser Div. (Santa Clara, Ca) has unveiled a prototype 488-nm solid-state optically pumped semiconductor laser at Photonics West, which is running this week in San Jose, CA. According to Paul Ginouves, business development manager for Coherent�s Instrumentation Business Unit, the firm�s OPSL-488 unit is the first practical alternative to the 488-nm air-cooled argon-ion lasers that currently dominate the analytical instrumentation market. The semiconductor laser is based on a special type of vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser and driven by optical pumping. By tailoring the MBE-grown semiconductor gain medium to produce 976 nm as a fundamental wavelength and including a frequency-doubling element, the device becomes a 488-nm laser with 20-mW output. Preliminary product specifications also include a TEM 00 beam profile and optical noise less than 1.0%. Beta testing of the new devices is already underway, with initial commercial deliveries scheduled to begin sometime this year.

Applied Optoelectronics Inc. (AOI; Sugar Land, TX) reports that its newest generation quantum-cascade laser has demonstrated continuous-wave (CW) output to a temperature of -63 degrees Celsius--approximately 25 degrees Celsius higher than the previous record held by Lucent Technologies. Until now, users of quantum-cascade lasers were faced with a difficult choice between operating the devices in CW mode--preferred by many spectroscopic users, but until now only possible by cooling the laser to cryogenic temperatures--or operating it at close to room temperature in pulsed mode with the laser rapidly cycled on and off. The CW AOI laser has demonstrated more than 8 mW of CW power at -65 degrees Celsius using small, relatively inexpensive thermoelectric coolers instead of the larger cryogenically cooled systems. The wavelength of the first devices incorporating the thermoelectric cooling technology is centered at 5.2 microns, but the firm believes it will also be applicable to devices emitting at 4.6 microns. AOI licensed the quantum-cascade technology from Lucent Technologies last year and has been offering prototype pulsed-mode lasers to R&D customers since September. The first commercially available devices are expected sometime this summer.

New Wave Research (Fremont, CA) has introduced what it claims is the smallest 200-mJ Nd:YAG laser available for air and water flow analysis. The compact dual-head Gemini PIV 200 laser outputs 200 mJ of energy at 532 nm and operates at a maximum repetition rate of 15 Hz per head. The 14-lb device, which measures 16.63 in. x 8.25 in. x 3.38 in., produces 67% higher energy than its predecessors, allowing users of particle image velocimetry to expand interrogation areas by 30%.

Also of note is the introduction of a new laser diode inspection system by Veeco Metrology Group (Tucson, AZ). The Optium device, which is designed to support full-scale manufacturing of source and pump diodes, measures at the wafer, three-sided bar, and individual diode levels. Problems automatically located and identified include coating, cleave, and crystal growth defects on the epi surface and facet ends that range from particulate contamination, edge chips, scratches, and overspray to ridge damage and metal overhang. The instrument also provides immediate process feedback related to the analysis of lateral dimensions such as ridge width and height.

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