We present results on the improvements of the lateral beam divergence and brightness of gain-guided mini-bars for emission at 976 nm. For efficient fiber coupling into a 200 μm fiber with NA 0.22, the upper limit of the lateral beam parameter product is 15.5 mm mrad. Within the last years, the power level at this beam quality has been improved from 44 W to 52 W for the chips in production, enabling more cost efficient pump modules and laser systems.
Our work towards further improvements of the beam quality focuses on advanced chip designs featuring reduced thermal lensing and mode shaping. Recent R&D results will be presented, showing a further improvement of the beam quality by 15%. Also, results of a chip design with an improved lateral emitter design for highest brightness levels will be shown, yielding in a record high brightness saturation of 4.8 W/mm mrad.