High Efficiency kW-Class Semiconductor Laser Bars for Inertial Fusion Energy

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nlight Photonics
5408 NE 88th Street, Building E
Vancouver, WA 98665
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Laser Inertial Fusion Energy (LIFE) is an advanced energy concept that has the potential to meet future worldwide energy needs through fusion energy. In order to meet the performance and reliability needed to enable power generation, the flashlamp-pumped architecture currently used in NIF will need to be changed to a diode-pumped architecture. This in turn will necessitate considerable improvement to the current state-of-the-art power density, efficiency, reliability, and cost of high power laser diode arrays. As a means to efficiently scale up diode bar power while simultaneously reducing the overall $/Watt cost, nLight proposes a novel bipolar cascade diode laser architecture. With nLights expertise in high-efficiency epitaxy design, high-pitch lensed bar array packaging, and facet passivation, the proposed program is expected to deliver a kW-class laser diode bar operating at 872-nm with 70% efficiency. In addition to fusion energy, the proposed development is also expected to enable current commercial markets, especially in the areas of defense (applications include rangefinders, target designators, and fuses for artillery) and consumer applications such as spark plug replacement in large engines