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Proceedings Paper

High-efficiency high-power diode laser beam shaping and focusing with constant optical-path length equalization
Author(s): Stefano Bonora; Paolo Villoresi
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Paper Abstract

In this work we report on a novel optical design for beam shaping and focalization of high-power diode laser bars. The goals of our study are: the increase the optical throughput of the beam shaping device with respect to standard solutions and either to enhance the irradiance on a target or to inject the laser beam into a smaller fibre than with respect to beam shaping system based on plane surfaces. The high power diode laser bars pose serious difficulties in their optical handling due to their strong difference between the two transverse axes, which induce a strong astigmatic and asymmetric output radiation. As is well known, the beam quality is very different in the two axes called slow axis and fast axis, and in particular the slow axis is composed by the superposition of several multimodal sources. The beam quality in this axis is very low (its etendue may exceed 2000 mm mrad). On the other hand, the fast axis has a very high beam quality, near diffraction limited, although with very high divergence (30°-50°). The common solution for the application of the laser radiation is a fast axis aspheric micro lens in front of the emitters, in order to achieve its collimation. Typical values of the fast axis collimated beam are 0.7mm and less than 6mrad. However, the so obtained collimated beam is poorly focusable with a standard lens, and a few methods were proposed to overcome the problem. The more relevant solutions include: the stepped mirror technique, the plane parallel mirrors pair, micro prisms array and confocal micro lens array. Each of these techniques is based on the equalization of the beam parameter product by the subdivision of the beam in the slow axis and its reshaping. For all these techniques the efficiency spans from 50% to 70%. The best focalization results allow the coupling in a fibre of 400μm diameter, with NA-0.22. The aim of this work is the design and the realization of a new device, that is considered as target the following aspects: 1) the maximum optical efficiency in the beam shaping process, 2) the optimal equalization of the beam parameter product for the two axes, 3) the use of few optical elements and 4) a very compact size. These goals are addressed by a scheme that splits the collimated beam from the laser diode into different portions while the length of the optical paths of each sub element is kept constant, and by the subsequent use of short focal length aspheric lenses for the focalization of the transformed beam. Each sub-beam is deflected by a couple of plane parallel mirrors, whose normal is directed to equalize the BPP without any mutual shadowing. An optimal solution can be easily envisaged for a laser source of common size of 0.7 x 10 mm. The condition on equal optical path length has the noticeable property of placing the virtual position of the individual portions into which the original beam is split at the same distance with respect to target. Thanks to this, their subsequent focusing is unaffected by the axial displacement of the common solution by the stepped mirrors. In fact, to correct this effect, this latter technique requires the use of a prism pair, involving complexity, size enlargement and higher costs. In this work both an extensive ray tracing and optical analysis is presented as well as the experimental characterization of an experimental model. Moreover, we also report on the technique for the realization of th tilted-face plane mirrors of which is composed our beam shaping device. The scheme of beam shaping here reported can be extended to higher power beam by means of the technique of the beam combination by polarization coupling or that of the optical beam compression. Examples of theses developments are discussed in the paper, and experimental results presented. The most direct applications of the class of optical devices here reported are the high power diode laser direct application in material processing or manufacturing, the coupling into multimode optical fiber of the diode laser radiation as well as the fiber laser end pumping.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 April 2006
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6184, Semiconductor Lasers and Laser Dynamics II, 61841Q (14 April 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.662405
Show Author Affiliations
Stefano Bonora, CNR-INFM LUXOR Lab. for Ultraviolet and X-ray Optical Research (Italy)
Univ. of Padova (Italy)
Paolo Villoresi, CNR-INFM LUXOR Lab. for Ultraviolet and X-ray Optical Research (Italy)
Univ. of Padova (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6184:
Semiconductor Lasers and Laser Dynamics II
Daan Lenstra; Markus Pessa; Ian H. White, Editor(s)

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