Diode laser modules based on laser-machined, multi-layer ceramic substrates with integrated water cooling and micro-optics
Campos Zatarain, Alberto
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This thesis presents a study on the use of low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) material as a new platform for the packaging of multiple broad area single emitter diode lasers. This will address the recent trend in the laser industry of combining multiple laser diodes in a common package to reach the beam brightness and power required for pumping fibre lasers and for direct-diode industrial applications, such as welding, cutting, and etching. Packages based on multiple single emitters offer advantages over those derived from monolithic diode bars such as higher brightness, negligible thermal crosstalk between neighbouring emitters and protection against cascading failed emitters. In addition, insulated sub-mounted laser diodes based on telecommunication standards are preferred to diode bars and stacks because of the degree of assembly automation, and improved lifetime. At present, lasers are packaged on Cu or CuW platforms, whose high thermal conductivities allow an efficient passive cooling. However, as the number of emitters per package increases and improvements in the laser technology enable higher output power, the passive cooling will become insufficient. To overcome this problem, a LTCC platform capable of actively removing the heat generated by the lasers through impingement jet cooling was developed. It was provided with an internal water manifold capable to impinge water at 0.15 lmin-1 flow rate on the back surface of each laser with a variation of less than 2 °C in the temperature between the diodes. The thermal impedance of 2.7°C/W obtained allows the LTCC structure to cool the latest commercial broad area single emitter diode lasers which deliver up to 13 W of optical power. Commonly, the emitters are placed in a “staircase” formation to stack the emitters in the fast-axis, maintaining the brightness of the diode lasers. However, due to technical difficulties of machining the LTCC structure with a staircase-shaped face, a novel out-plane beam shaping method was proposed to obtain an elegant and compact free space combination of the laser beam on board using inexpensive optics. A compact arrangement was obtained using aligned folding mirrors, which stacked the beams on top of each other in the fast direction with the minimum dead space.