The density of a state-of-the-art high power laser diode array is such that a single array, which is comprised of up to 50 diode tiles, has a frontal area of only about 400 square cm and requires pulse current of up to 1000 Amperes per tile to operate. Current technology, available in the industry, is based on very large rack mounted equipment with limited capabilities. If one were to use current technology to drive high power laser diode arrays, the power conditioning equipment (PCE) would be over 5 cubic feet in volume. The power conditioning equipment required to drive such a laser diode array is 15x larger than the actual array. A second problem arises when one considers that with existing PCE being so much larger than the load that the load and the PCE now be separated by long cables that do not lend themselves to high current pulse operation.
As diode pumped solid state lasers (DPSSL) become more common there is a need to drive these pump diode arrays in a compact, efficient and cost-effective manner. The LLNL system for controlling high current laser diode arrays is an integrated system for meeting the needs of driving laser diode arrays in a DPSSL. The system is comprised of technologies required to control the DPSSL that includes individual laser diode drivers, a method of communicating with those drivers, and a method of controlling the pulse shape of each diode driver. LLNL has demonstrated how these subsystems are put together in a system that also includes methods of mounting, cooling and controlling high average power diode arrays used for the purpose of pumping DPSSLs.
The LLNL system for controlling high current laser diode arrays is a system that allows the compact and efficient operation of high peak power diode arrays. This system decreases the volume of the PCE by a factor of 10; allows the PCE to be located near the diode array, which allows for the use of shorter cabling which enable experimentalist to drive the diodes arrays to higher currents with better shaped pulses. In addition, the software system developed to control the PCE allows the experimentalist to precisely control the intensity, temporal shape and spatial flatness of the diode array.
Applications for this technology include:
- Driving and Controlling High Average Power Laser Diode Arrays
- Controlling the power for Diode Pumped Solid State Lasers DPSSL
- Realizing Compact, Efficient High Average Power DPSSLs
LLNL has filed a patent application for their system for controlling high current laser diode arrays.