Researchers from a joint project called "PrOpSys" (production technology of optical systems for high-power diode lasers) funded by the German federal ministry of education and research (BMBF) have reported that, with the help of a novel assembling system, they have fully automated the assembly and adjustment of high-power diode lasers for the first time (normally, high-power diode lasers require manual assembly, involving many complex steps). This could eventually decrease manufacturing costs in the highly competitive high-power diode-laser market.
In the automated adjustment procedure, the laser-diode bar is activated and the collimator lens is located in front of the diode laser with the help of a precision positioning system. Associated metrology hardware then collects and evaluates the laser radiation. The innovation lies in the fact that several positions of the collimator lens in front of the laser-diode bar are tested, aided by digital image-processing analysis of the intensity distribution of the laser radiation. The optimized position for the lens is defined by the help of appropriate alignment algorithms. Finally, the lens is fixed in the proper position in front of the laser-diode bar.
The system has been assembled by ficonTEC and is now in operation at the Fraunhofer IZM. The institute serves as a technology testbed for development of further optimized adjustment and assembling processes for mass-production suited manufacturing of optoelectronic products.
PrOpSys partners include:
The project coordinator is LIMO Lissotschenko Mikrooptik GmbH (Dortmund, Germany). LIMO deals with all aspects of diode-laser design and investigates associated manufacturing steps.
FiconTEC Service GmbH (Bremen, Germany) focuses on the automation itself and machine concepts.
Artifex Engineering (Emden, Germany) manufactures optoelectronic components for monitoring and controlling diode lasers.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT (Aachen, Germany) focuses on alignment algorithms and assembly techniques.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM (Berlin, Germany) concentrates on the mounting technology and reliability and tolerance analysis.