Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Element Six selected by European Consortium to develop ultrafast pulse disk lasers

SANTA CLARA, USA: Element Six, the world leader in synthetic diamond supermaterials and member of the De Beers Group of Companies, today announced it has been selected by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development to help develop a new ultrafast pulse disk laser.

The new laser will be designed with high average output power to increase productivity and precision in micromachining of transparent materials. As part of the three year project titled "Ultrafast High-Average Power Ti:Sapphire Thin-Disk Oscillators and Amplifiers" (TiSa:TD), Element Six will further develop its low-loss, high purity single crystal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamond material to rapidly conduct heat off a titanium sapphire (TiSa) thin-disk, which will be used as the laser gain material. These developments will include increasing the areas available to Element Six customers.

Currently, the most powerful industrial "ultrafast" lasers operate in the picosecond range, which offers sufficient performance for micromachining metals. However, the consortium aims to develop a new femtosecond laser system that allows extremely high precision with higher powers than previously achieved, in order to increase productivity for the micromachining of transparent materials such as glass and ceramics, commonly used in smartphones and tablets.

Specifically, collaborators on this project are working to design two high-average power ultrafast TiSa thin-disk laser systems, one amplifier system using chirped pulses to obtain high-energy pulses, and one high-power oscillator to achieve high repetition rates. Both will have a maximum average output power of at least 200 W at a pulse duration of well below 100 femtoseconds.

To achieve these goals, TiSa will be used as the laser crystal material, which is optimal for short pulse laser systems due to the broad bandwidth of its emission, yet lacks good thermal properties. To combat this challenge, Element Six will further develop its single crystal CVD diamond to be mounted to the TiSa as a heat spreader, improving its thermo-optical effects and allowing it to be pumped at the required higher powers.

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