New High-Power Rare-Earth-Doped Glass Fiber Lasers

Period of Performance: 04/03/2000 - 04/11/2001

$61.2K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Kigre, Inc.
100 Marshland Road
Hilton Head, SC 29926
Principal Investigator

Abstract

A breakthrough in fiber laser technology has been achieved which opens the door to a whole new class of efficient ultra-high brightness laser sources. These diode pumped devices have the potential to replace or augment almost all existing industrial, medical, and military laser applications. Kigre's new QX phosphate laser materials exhibit high strength, high gain, high durability, and superior laser performance. This new laser glass material is well suited to suppliment the new fiber laser designs. Fiber lasers have now established themselves as leading contenders for a range of high-power applications. High efficiencies and high gains are readily achieved, and the problems of thermal loading and beam distortion can essentially be eliminated. There is an ever-increasing demand for high brightness, high power lasers in applications such as medicine, industrial machining, remote sensing, targeting, illumination, laser radar, and directed energy. The recent breakthrough in fiber laser design technology promises to help propel the current state-of-the-art to a new level. Successfully meeting the goals in this Phase I effort will provide a solid technological foundation for the Phase II research and development. During the Phase II effort we will demonstrate a killowatt class fiber laser with a high brightness beam. These high power, high brightness fiber lasers are prime candidates to account for a percentage of the industrial laser markets. ($2,4 billion/year) They will also serve well in medical, scientific, and millitary applications. The core technologies developed for these fiber lasers will apply to the optoelectronics used for fiber optic communications. The market for components for optical communications is expected to reach $10 billion per year by 2005.