Compact diode-pumped high energy laser for engine ignition and spectroscopy applications

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Laser Head Gen4

Technology abstract

An Austrian R&D organisation introduces a novel diode-pumped solid state laser. This offers high power in an exceptionally compact design. It fulfills industrial requirements on operating reliability at elevated temperature or vibration levels. Applications: • Ignition systems • Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) • Cleaning, depainting, cautering and ablation • Engraving and Marking Licensees, partners for integration and commercialisation are sought.

Technology Description

This Laser class 4 comprises • Diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) laser: made by pumping a solid gain medium such as a crystal with a laser diode • Monolithic resonator: all the optical components (laser crystal, Q-switch and output mirror) are integrated in a single component and are therefore insensitive to temperature changes and vibrations • Passive Q-switch: optical switch for generating a short light pulse of high intensity with pulse widths in the nanosecond range General Specifications Laser medium Nd:YAG Q-switch Cr:YAG Pump source Laser diode array Laser Wavelength 1064 nm Beam Diameter ≤ 2 mm @ laser aperture Pulse Width typ. 2-3 ns Ambient temperature 10 - 125°C Expected pump diode lifetime > 10bn pulses Focal power density > 1012 W/cm² One of the application areas of this technology is Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). This analytical method allows a both qualitative and (semi-) quantitative elemental analysis. Currently, the availability of compact, cost- effective laser sources is one key limiting factor for mobile, decentralized LIBS systems. Here, a compact, robust, diode pumped high-power laser would be a significant advantage, in particular for field and in-line process applications, e.g. for environmental, mineralogical (analysis of stone or ore samples), metallurgical (analysis and quality control of alloys), life science, forensic and security- related samples. Surface Cleaning is yet another potential application, including depainting, cauterizing of lenses or applications where e.g. objects of art have to be cleaned by ablating overlying layers. This application requires a focused laser source of high power that is at the same time mobile and robust, characteristics offered by the technology at hand. The laser source is also suitable for various engraving and marking applications, on metals, ceramics, plastics, or for interior graving of transparent materials (glass, plastics). There is a choice of several effects that can be used: material abrasion by vaporization, thermal colour change or photo chemical colour change. Due to its high pulse energy this laser is particularly suitable for challenging surface marking applications which are material and colour dependent.

Innovations & Advantages

The diode-pumped solid state laser was originally developed for the ignition of fuel/air mixtures in the harsh environment of motors and other combustion chambers. It has new been completely redesigned to even match the requirements of space industry. Thus this laser sets new standards in robustness and offers high power in an exceptionally compact design. Thus it fulfils stringent requirements as to: • Operating reliability • High focal power density • No internal dealignment in operation Optionally, a fiber connector for diagnostics or fast pulse triggering is available. The experience gained in space projects allows lean design and more cost-effective production as compared to previous versions, thus further increasing the attractiveness of the diode-pumped solid state laser for minimally destructive analyses, engraving & marking and ablation.

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Process control, environmental analytics, life science, geology, medical treatment (ophthalmology, dermatology), forensics, security