In the last few years an increasing demand for high-brightness diode laser sources is observable, which is mainly driven
by applications for fiber laser pumping and materials processing. A number of different approaches have been
investigated in the past for the realization of such systems. In this paper we compare different concepts for high-brightness,
high-power diode laser modules that are based on the new generation of tapered diode laser bars and new
developments in broad area diode laser bars, respectively.
One of the main advantages of tapered diode laser bars is the good beam quality in the slow-axis direction, which allows
the design of high-power laser systems with a symmetric beam profile without the necessity of using sophisticated beam
shaping systems. Such laser modules with multiple bars aiming for kilowatt output power can be realized with different
incoherent coupling principles, including spatial multiplexing, polarization multiplexing and wavelength multiplexing.
On the other hand, modules with a single or only a few tapered diode laser bars aim for very high brightness suitable for
fiber coupling with fiber diameters down to 50 μm with a numerical aperture (NA) of 0.22.
In this paper we present a detailed characterization of the new generation of tapered diode laser bars, including typical
electro-optical data, measurements of beam quality and lifetime data.
Tapered diode laser bars typically suffer from a broad spectrum which is extremely obstructive for pumping
applications with small absorption bandwidths. To overcome this disadvantage we used volume bragg gratings (VBG)
to improve the spectral quality of tapered diode laser bars. In addition to further improve the brightness of such diode
laser systems we investigated external phaseplates to correct for smile and lens aberrations.