Diode lasers that deliver high continuous wave optical output powers (> 5W) within a narrow, temperature-stable
spectral window are required for many applications. One technical solution is to bury Bragg-gratings within the
semiconductor itself, using epitaxial overgrowth techniques to form distributed-feedback broad-area (DFB-BA) lasers.
However, such stabilization is only of interest when reliability, operating power and power conversion efficiency are not
compromised. Results will be presented from the ongoing optimization of such DFB-BA lasers at the Ferdinand-Braun-
Institut (FBH). Our development work focused on 976nm devices with 90μm stripe width, as required for pumping
Nd:YAG, as well as for direct applications. Such devices operate with a narrow spectral width of < 1nm (95% power
content) to over 10W continuous wave (CW) optical output. Further optimization of epitaxial growth and device design
has now largely eliminated the excess optical loss and electrical resistance typically associated with the overgrown
grating layer. These developments have enabled, for the first time, DFB-BA lasers with peak CW power conversion
efficiency of > 60% with < 1nm spectral width (95% power content). Reliable operation has also been demonstrated,
with 90μm stripe devices operating for over 4000 hours to date without failure at 7W (CW). We detail the technological
developments required to achieve these results and discuss the options for further improvements.