A recent breakthrough in laser diode and diode driver technology made by Quantel (Les Ulis, France) now allows laser emission higher than 1 mJ with pulses as short as 12 ns in a footprint of 4x5 cm2 (including both the laser diode and driver) and an electrical-to-optical conversion efficiency of the whole laser diode source higher than 25% at this level of energy. The components used for the laser source presented here can all be manufactured at low cost. In particular, instead of having several individual laser diodes positioned side by side, the laser diodes are monolithically integrated on a single semiconductor chip. The chips are then integrated directly on the driver board in a single assembly step. These laser sources emit in the range of 800-1000 nm and their emission is considered to be eye safe when taking into account the high divergence of the output beam and the aperture of possible macro lenses so that they can be used for end consumer applications. Experimental characterization of these state-of-the-art pulsed laser diode sources will be given. Future work leads will be discussed for miniaturization of the laser diode and drastic cost reduction.
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