In space, the absence of atmospheric turbulence, absorption, dispersion and aerosol factors on laser transmission.
Therefore, space-based laser has important values in satellite communication, satellite attitude controlling, space debris clearing, and long distance energy transmission, etc. On the other hand, solar energy is a kind of clean and renewable resources, the average intensity of solar irradiation on the earth is 1353W/m2, and it is even higher in
space. Therefore, the space-based solar pumped lasers has attracted much research in recent years, most research
focuses on solar pumped solid state lasers and solar pumped fiber lasers. The two lasing principle is based on stimulated emission of the rare earth ions such as Nd, Yb, Cr. The rare earth ions absorb light only in narrow bands. This leads to inefficient absorption of the broad-band solar spectrum, and increases the system heating load, which make the system solar to laser power conversion efficiency very low. As a solar pumped semiconductor lasers could absorb all photons with energy greater than the bandgap. Thus, solar pumped semiconductor lasers could have considerably higher efficiencies than other solar pumped lasers. Besides, solar pumped semiconductor lasers has smaller volume chip, simpler structure and better heat dissipation, it can be mounted on a small satellite platform, can compose satellite array, which can greatly improve the output power of the system, and have flexible character.
This paper summarizes the research progress of space-based solar pumped semiconductor lasers, analyses of the key
technologies based on several application areas, including the processing of semiconductor chip, the design of small and efficient solar condenser, and the cooling system of lasers, etc. We conclude that the solar pumped vertical cavity surface-emitting semiconductor lasers will have a wide application prospects in the space.