SBIR Phase I:A Miniature Active Q-Switched Laser based on a Fast Space-Charge- Controlled Electro-Optic (SCC-EO) Deflector with Ultra-low Driving Voltage

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Crystal Research, Inc.
48501 Warm Springs Boulevard, Suite 103
Fremont, CA 94539
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Program (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a novel miniature actively Q-switched laser that can be driven by a simple low-voltage circuit. Portable actively Q-switched lasers with adjustable repetition rates delivering high-power pulses in nanoseconds have broad and significant applications in scientific research, biomedicines, sensing, and measurements. Existing active Q-switching techniques have either slow switching speed or high driving voltage and thus not ideal for portable Q-switch lasers of high performance and efficiency. The key innovation of this project is to exploit a unique space-charge-controlled electro-optic effect by a low driving voltage in a compact solid-state laser cavity to implement active Q-switching with fast transition time, high dynamic loss and low insertion loss. The proposed research involves innovations of both device design and electro-optic material fabrication for pulsed laser generation with significant improvement in laser efficiency, compactness and cost. Phase I will design and fabricate the novel electro-optic Q-switch to develop portable Q-switched laser. The performance of the device will be optimized in Phase II to yield a functional and robust prototype with improved performance and cost reduction to support commercial potential applications. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the development of a new class of portable actively Q-switched laser with improvement in speed, control and efficiency to enhance laser-related technologies and commercial applications. The proposed laser employs a fast Q-switching technique to generate high-power laser pulses with low driving voltage, enabling a simple driving electronics, compact size, light weight and low cost, while maintaining all parameters of performance required by applications in clinical treatments, remote sensing, and information technology. The Q-switched laser with short pulse duration, small size, low-driving voltage and ease of operation, has been recognized as the gold standard for effective aesthetic and skin treatments. Compact, portable Q-switched lasers are also critical transmitters for field sensing and measurements including surveillance ladar, laser rangefinders, atmospheric detection, laser-induced breakdown spectroscope, and laser bio-chemical agent detections. Besides high-power laser pulse generation, the novel electro-optic deflector device that manipulates the light propagation direction will have significant impacts on the means of light control, processing and transformation, offering great commercial opportunities in optical communications and technologies of printers, copiers and displays.