Photonic Integrated Circuits for High-Power Coherent Diode Lasers

For the first time, semiconductor lasers have demonstrated single spectral and spatial mode outputs in excess of 2 W cw. This milestone demonstration opens up a number of new markets that have traditionally been inaccessible for laser diodes, including space communication, high power frequency doubling, materials processing, and high resolution printing. As a measure of the significance of the 2 W cw coherent semiconductor laser, we note that the brightness of the laser diode at an output power of 2 W cw and a wavelength of 1 μm corresponds to the same brightness of a CO2 laser operating at an output power of 200 W cw at a wavelength of approximately 10 μm. At such a high brightness, the laser diode can be incoherently coupled via brightness-conserving optics to meet the requirements of present lasers used in machining and welding systems.

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