An Yb-based Laser Transmitter

Period of Performance: 09/25/2000 - 03/25/2001

$69.6K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Q Peak, Inc.
135 South Road Array
Bedford, MA 01730
Principal Investigator

Abstract

For laser rangefinders and target designators, lightweight, compact, efficient, high-energy-per-pulse laser sources are desirable. Diode-pumped solid-state lasers are the best candidates for this application. A logical means of increasing the performance of current diode-pumped solid-state lasers is to increase their energy storage by exploiting materials with long upper-state lifetimes. Ytterbium-doped media offer lifetimes that are on the order of milliseconds, and are a factor of five larger than Nd-doped media. In the proposed effort, we will explore the use of Yb-doped laser media in an efficient prism-pumping geometry. The prism-pumping geometry provides a simple and efficient means of both side-pumping and removing the heat from a laser rod. The prism-pumping geometry has demonstrated very efficient operation as compared with currently used pump-cavity designs. An advantage of the prism-pumping geometry is that the laser medium is conductively cooled, eliminating the requirement for liquids flowing over the pump surfaces of the rod. The prism-pumping geometry, together with Yb-doped laser media, offer the potential of small, compact lasers with robust coupling of the pump diode lasers to the laser medium.Our short-term commercial market focus for high-energy-per-pulse Yb lasers is in the precision materials processing industries including applications such as: precision cutting and drilling on metallic and ceramic substrates, marking of wafers and components, post processing of components such as LCD displays, solar-cell scribing, drilling of holes and vias in high-density electronics substrates, and the stereolithographic production of mechanical models.