Jul 28, 2020
EKOLAS, a project funded by the German government, has achieved results. The energy efficiency and power of infrared lasers for industrial material processing have reached new heights.
As the world's leading optical semiconductor company, Osram has been committed to the development of high-power lasers for special professional applications for many years, such as the use of high-power laser welding machines for metal processing in the automotive industry.
Recently, in the latest EKOLAS project funded by the German Federal Agency for Education and Research, Osram has worked with partners to achieve breakthrough results in the cutting-edge exploration of laser performance and efficiency.
For a long time, the German EffiLAS Association (Association of High-Efficiency and High-Power Laser Sources) has been committed to consolidating and enhancing Germany's leading technological and economic status in the field of photonics. In the field of laser light sources, EffiLAS is committed to further optimization and performance, energy efficiency and other related technical parameters.
Ten years ago, the best laser rod power was 200 watts, and the efficiency could reach 63%. Five years ago, the output power reached 250 watts and the efficiency was not less than 60%. At that time, this was considered the limit that could be reached, because the conversion efficiency and cooling technology limited the output power of the laser at that time.
After open cooperation and exploration and innovation, in February 2020, Osram Opto Semiconductors and its partners jointly developed a new type of infrared laser in the EKOLAS project, and achieved breakthrough progress, achieving a maximum output power of the laser bar up to 400 watts. At an output power of 300 watts and wavelengths of 1000 and 1020 nanometers, the laser set a new record of 70% efficiency.
The success of the project benefited from the valuable experience gained from other EffiLAS projects, including understanding of materials science, simulation experiments in the field of epitaxy, and basic expertise in chip and cavity surface technology.
Osram Opto Semiconductors EKOLAS project manager Sebastian Hein said: In this project, we achieved all the preset goals, and some results even exceeded expectations. The key to success is that we have developed innovative software tools that simulate the electro-optical characteristics of lasers. These software incorporate the thermal distribution, temperature-related material properties, and mode-related wave propagation in the resonator. These tools greatly speed up and simplify the necessary test runs and make a fundamental contribution to the results of the project.
The new experience gained from simulation experiments can also be applied to other product series in the wavelength range of 800-1060nm. These achievements not only bring greater advantages to product development, but also promote the sustainable development of the supply chain in Germany and Europe.