Pangolin's new LASORB claims first to provide reliable electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection for laser diodes

August 4, 2009--In what it calls a major breakthrough for the longevity of products using laser diodes, Pangolin Laser Systems (Orlando, FL) has launched "the world's first" component to protect laser diodes from damage by direct and indirect electrostatic discharge (ESD)." The LASORB protects laser diodes, photodiodes and LEDs from single, multiple, and repeated ESD events of either positive or negative polarity. It targets a wide array of consumer, commercial, and industrial products.

Aug 4th, 2009

August 4, 2009--In what it calls a major breakthrough for the longevity of products employing laser diodes, Pangolin Laser Systems (Orlando, FL), producer of laser display software and control hardware, has introduced "the world's first electronic component to protect laser diodes against damage from direct and indirect electrostatic discharge (ESD)." Called LASORB, this "ESD absorber" protects laser diodes, photodiodes and LEDs from single, multiple, and repeated ESD events of either positive or negative polarity. It has applications across a wide array of consumer, commercial, and industrial products.

"ESD is a well-known problem for laser diodes, especially Blu-ray laser diodes and low-power single-mode red laser diodes," said Pangolin president and CTO William Benner. "Without LASORB, a single modest ESD event can cause permanent damage, resulting in partial or complete diode failure. Laser diodes often fail long before the manufacturers' rated life expectancy, and ESD is the suspected cause of many malfunctions."

Benner said LASORB also protects against reverse bias conditions. While Schottky diodes are typically used for this purpose, Benner said using LASORB in their place offered protection against both ESD and reverse biasing.

Pangolin is currently producing two series of LASORB, one optimized for red and infrared diodes and a second optimized for Blu-ray diodes. The component package is compact (8.9mm tall x 10.4mm long x 3.8mm thick) and mounts in a 2-pin, through-hole configuration; Pangolin can also design custom packages, and an SMT version will be offered as well.

"LASORB is a game-changer with respect protecting lasers from ESD," stated Benner. "As far as we know and based on thorough research, there is nothing in the world like it. Previous so-called solutions for ESD all fail in some respect to protect laser diodes. They are either too slow to respond, ineffective in the required voltage range, or incapable of absorbing the energy of a voltage surge.

"LASORB protects against ESD as well as from power surges caused by turning equipment on and off. It protects against reverse bias. It is an effective, field-proven solution," he said.

Benner said LASORB has already gained customers in government, universities, and commercial companies in several countries and that it is being applied in fields of electronics, medicine, security, entertainment, and scientific research.

Benner sees s strong market potential for LASORB. Citing a recent study published in Laser Focus World, he said the global market for laser diodes is about 750 million units and growing. According to the same study, the most common uses for the diodes are in optical storage and telecommunications. Other applications include entertainment, solid-state laser pumping, medical therapeutics, sensing, instrumentation, and barcode scanners.

For more information see Pangolin's dedicated LASORB website, which provides detailed product information and datasheets, background on laser diodes and ESD, a review of the limitations of previous ESD solutions in laser diodes applications, video demos, and links to other resources.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for Laser Focus World.

More in Lasers & Sources