Laser maker Trumpf has opened a subsidiary in Berlin, Germany for advanced engineering of laser diodes. The facility, which will be run in cooperation with the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik (FBH), will ‘lay the foundations for future applications’ of diode laser technology, according to Trumpf.
Trumpf and the FBH have worked together for several years on brilliant high-power diode lasers. The technology can be used as a pump source or as direct diode laser, and it is advancing to the point where it can be used for cutting, welding and surface treatment of metals – companies like JDSU and Amada have released kilowatt direct diode systems for materials processing.
‘Over the past years our research activities have resulted in numerous patents, enabling further improvements to diode lasers,’ said Professor Günther Tränkle, director of the FBH. ‘The demand is there and will continue to grow, because the market for laser systems that can process and cut metals is vast.’
The Berlin subsidiary will have an initial staff of ten people. Dr Berthold Schmidt, head of the central department for research and development at Trumpf, commented that the joint ventures emanating from the facility will be of crucial importance for the company’s development work in the area of diode lasers.
Dr Stephan Strohmaier, who runs the Trumpf subsidiary in Berlin, added: ‘For cutting thick sheet metal, a very powerful laser beam is required. Our goal is to efficiently combine ever more laser power inside an ever more brilliant beam – and we're getting better at it all the time.’
Direct diode lasers have very high electrical-to-optical efficiencies. With direct diode lasers, the laser radiation of several diodes is combined using optic elements to create a beam that can be focused precisely. This combination beam, only one tenth of a millimetre in diameter, can then be used to cut metals such as steel in the automotive and shipbuilding industries.