Dr Johan Nilsson of Southampton Photonics Inc. and the Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton, UK, presented results at the Photonics West Conference in San Jose this week that cladding pumped fiber lasers are producing the high powers required to replace traditional lasers in important application areas.
In published experiments, over 270 W of singlemode output power at 1080 nm from an Ytterbium-doped fiber laser (YDFL) and over 100 W of singlemode output power at 1565 nm from an Erbium-Ytterbium fiber laser have been achieved. SPI (Southhampton, UK) believes these are the highest powers ever produced using ytterbium and erbium-ytterbium singlemode fiber lasers.
Ytterbium-doped fiber lasers are among the most efficient of all rare-earth doped fiber lasers, and erbium-ytterbium co-doped fiber lasers are the most efficient type of high-power laser of any kind operating in the "eye-safe" wavelength region at around 1550 nm.
With the appropriate fiber designs, SPI expects singlemode fiber lasers with 1 kW of output power to be realizable in the not too distant future. It is also anticipated that the recent rapid improvements will continue and spread to more refined fiber lasers with single-polarization, narrow-linewidths, and pulsed sources.
"This development is typical of the ground-breaking work underway at SPI to bring disruptive, high-power fiber technology to market offering both lower unit and total ownership cost for customers in a variety of applications," says Stuart Woods, SPI's director of business development.
World record-beating results from a 980-nm laser using SPI patented Ytterbium ring-doped cladding pumping technology will also be presented at the Advanced Solid State Photonics (ASSP) Conference in San Antonio, TX, this month.