Apollo's advanced fiber-coupled devices use beam-shaping optics to maintain laser-diode-array brightness while increasing power output.
Until recently, laser-diode arrays (LDAs) have been limited in power output and brightness because of optical design and focusing issues. But Apollo Instruments Inc., Irvine, Calif. — with the help of Missile Defense Agency SBIR funding — has developed novel beam-shaping optics that address these concerns.
Apollo's beam-shaping technology substantially maintains LDA brightness while increasing power output through beam combination. It uses various configurations of specialized optical elements that shape and re-arrange laser beams to achieve a high-efficiency and high-power fiber-coupled diode laser.
High power and high brightness are critical for applications requiring solid-state lasers. With high-brightness diode lasers, the beam is more intense at the focal point. Possible applications include metal marking and drilling, measuring, and monitoring.
Using its beam-shaping technology, Apollo expects to facilitate the development of kilowatt-level fiber lasers with high beam quality. Current devices generate pumping power of 500 W. The company believes it will attain 1-kW output by mid-2004. Once completed, this laser device will be marketed for industrial processing and solid-state laserpumping applications.