August, 25, 2005, Cranbury, NJ--Princeton Lightwave Inc. (PLI), a producer of near infrared high-power diode lasers and application specific detectors for communications, defense, and sensing applications, has received a second year of funding from the Department of Defense's High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office (JTO) to continue development of highly scalable eye-safe solid state lasers using InP diode pumping with ultra-low photon defect.
Central to this Broad Agency Announcement program from the Department of Defense is the development of stacks of InP diode pump laser arrays with very high output powers. These laser stacks will be optimized for pumping an Er:YAG gain medium at wavelengths very close to the solid state laser emission wavelength. Such a design using resonance pumping will greatly reduce undesirable heating of the gain medium and allow for the scaling of the laser system to multi-kilowatt outputs while maintaining high beam quality. The second year of program support will enable PLI and its research partners at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, MD, to demonstrate a 1 kilowatt eye-safe Er:YAG solid state laser.
"The transition to InP-based long wavelength pump lasers is a natural progression for the next generation of eye-safe solid state and fiber lasers," stated Dimitri Garbuzov, PLI's Chief Scientist. "In addition to alleviating active media overheating, the use of InP-based pump sources avoids a critical problem inherent to GaAs diode lasers associated with the degradation of the diode laser mirror facets. The photon flux for InP pump lasers can be several times larger than that of traditional GaAs-based pumps at comparable device lifetimes."
"PLI's achievements during the first year of this JTO-sponsored program included the first demonstration of 100 W from a diode-pumped Er:YAG solid state laser emitting near 1.65 microns and dramatically increased output power at 1530 nm from InP pump laser bars," according to PLI's CTO Mark Itzler. "We are excited about the prospects for this program's second year, and we look forward to surpassing 1 kW power levels with this solid state laser technology."