Substrate-transferred crystalline coatings are a groundbreaking new concept for the fabrication of ultralow-loss mirrors. The single-crystal lattice structure of these substrate-transferred GaAs/AlGaAs Bragg mirrors exhibits the lowest mechanical losses and hence unmatched Brownian noise performance, which nowadays limits the stability of precision optical interferometers. Another outstanding feature of these coatings is the wide spectral coverage of the GaAs/AlGaAs material platform. Limited by interband absorption at short wavelengths and the reststrahlen band at long wavelengths, crystalline coatings can be employed as low-loss multilayers from approximately 900 nm up to 5 μm and beyond. Excellent optical performance has been demonstrated in the near-infrared with excess optical losses (scatter + absorption) as low as 3 parts per million (ppm), enabling cavity finesse values up to 360,000 at 1.55 μm. Our first attempts at applying crystalline coatings in the mid-infrared has resulted in mirrors with excess optical losses of 159 and 242 ppm at 3.3 and 3.7 μm, respectively. Remarkably, these results are already on par with current state-of-the-art amorphous mirror coatings. Absorption measurements based on photothermal common-path interferometry (PCI) reveal that the optical losses are largely dominated by optical scatter. Via, PCI, we have confirmed absorption losses below 10 ppm at 3.7 μm, showing the enormous potential of GaAs/AlGaAs Bragg mirrors at mid-infrared wavelengths. An optimized fabrication process, which is currently under development, can efficiently suppress optical scatter due to accumulated growth defects on the surface. Ultimately, we foresee excess losses significantly less than 50 ppm in the mid-infrared spectral region.
Substrate-transferred crystalline coatings have recently emerged as a groundbreaking new concept in optical
interference coatings. Building upon our initial demonstration of this technology, we have recently realized significant
improvements in the limiting optical performance of these novel single-crystal GaAs/AlGaAs multilayers. In the nearinfrared
(NIR), for center wavelengths spanning 1064 to 1560 nm, we have reduced the excess optical losses (scatter +
absorption) to less than 5 ppm, enabling the realization of a cavity finesse exceeding 300,000 at the telecom-relevant
wavelength range near 1550 nm. Moreover, we demonstrate the direct measurement of sub-ppm optical absorption at
1064 nm. Concurrently, we investigate the mid-IR (MIR) properties of these coatings and observe exceptional
performance for first attempts in this important wavelength region. Specifically, we verify excess losses at the hundred
ppm level for wavelengths of 3300 and 3700 nm. Taken together, our NIR optical losses are now fully competitive with
ion beam sputtered films, while our first prototype MIR optics have already reached state-of-the-art performance levels
for reflectors covering the important fingerprint region for optical gas sensing. Thus, mirrors fabricated via this
technique exhibit the lowest mechanical loss (and thus Brownian noise), the highest thermal conductivity, and,
potentially, the widest spectral coverage of any “supermirror” technology, owing to state-of-the art levels of scatter and
absorption losses in both the near and mid IR, all in a single material platform. Looking ahead, we see a bright future for
crystalline coatings in applications requiring the ultimate levels of optical, thermal, and optomechanical performance.
Ultrashort pulses are capable of processing practically any material with negligible heat affected zone. Typical pulse durations for industrial applications are situated in the low picosecond-regime. Pulse durations of 5 ps or below are a well established compromise between the electron-phonon interaction time of most materials and the need for pulses long enough to suppress detrimental effects such as nonlinear interaction with the ablated plasma plume. However, sub-picosecond pulses can further increase the ablation efficiency for certain materials, depending on the available average power, pulse energy and peak fluence. Based on the well established TruMicro 5000 platform (first release in 2007, third generation in 2011) an Yb:YAG disk amplifier in combination with a broadband seed laser was used to scale the output power for industrial femtosecond-light sources: We report on a subpicosecond amplifier that delivers a maximum of 160 W of average output power at pulse durations of 750 fs. Optimizing the system for maximum peak power allowed for pulse energies of 850 μJ at pulse durations of 650 fs. Based on this study and the approved design of the TruMicro 5000 product-series, industrygrade, high average power femtosecond-light sources are now available for 24/7 operation. Since their release in May 2013 we were able to increase the average output power of the TruMicro 5000 FemtoEdition from 40 W to 80 W while maintaining pulse durations around 800 fs. First studies on metals reveal a drastic increase of processing speed for some micro processing applications.
The invention of the semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM) nearly 20 years ago was a major advancement
for the development of ultrafast laser systems. Today, SESAMs have become key devices for modelocking of numerous
laser types, including DPSSLs, fiber lasers, and semiconductor lasers. Semiconductors are ideally suited as saturable
absorbers because they can cover a broad wavelength range and yield short recovery times, supporting the generation of picosecond to femtosecond pulse durations. The macroscopic nonlinear optical parameters for modelocking can be optimized over a wide range by the design of the mirror structure and the choice of the semiconductor absorber. Furthermore, their damage threshold can be controlled making them ideally suited for high-power levels. In this presentation, we will focus on recent advances in SESAMs for cutting-edge ultrafast lasers. In particular, we will focus on recent damage and lifetime investigations of SESAMs designed for high-power oscillators. We will present guidelines for robust SESAMs in a large range of saturation parameters, and give an outlook towards novel SESAM designs that will enable future kW-level ultrafast oscillators.
A number of upcoming industrial applications prove that the laser offers great possibilities for parts cleaning and surface pretreatment. Thereby laser technology enables solutions to reduce production costs and to increase productivity and quality in the manufacturing process. Examples are the removal of oil, grease, phosphate layers or corrosion with the laser. This paper will focus on parts cleaning and surface pretreatment applications within the automotive industry. For a range of examples it will be shown that the laser not only offers advantages to carry out the described production step (such as cleaning or the creation of functional textures) but also offers great advantages for a following production step within the chain, such as a welding or gluing process. It will be demonstrated that several ns and ps laser sources and systems can be selected, depending on the application.
Ultrashort pulsed lasers based on thin disk technology have entered the 100 W regime and deliver several tens of MW
peak power without chirped pulse amplification. Highest uptime and insensitivity to back reflections make them ideal
tools for efficient and cost effective industrial micromachining. Frequency converted versions allow the processing of a
large variety of materials. On one hand, thin disk oscillators deliver more than 30 MW peak power directly out of the resonator in laboratory setups. These peak power levels are made possible by recent progress in the scaling of the pulse energy in excess of 40 μJ. At the corresponding high peak intensity, thin disk technology profits from the limited amount of material and hence the manageable nonlinearity within the resonator. Using new broadband host materials like for example the sesquioxides will eventually reduce the pulse duration during high power operation and further increase the peak power. On the other hand industry grade amplifier systems deliver even higher peak power levels. At closed-loop controlled 100W, the TruMicro Series 5000 currently offers the highest average ultrafast power in an industry proven product, and enables efficient micromachining of almost any material, in particular of glasses, ceramics or sapphire. Conventional laser cutting of these materials often requires UV laser sources with pulse durations of several nanoseconds and an average power in the 10 W range. Material processing based on high peak power laser sources makes use of multi-photon absorption processes. This highly nonlinear absorption enables micromachining driven by the fundamental (1030 nm) or frequency doubled (515 nm) wavelength of Yb:YAG. Operation in the IR or green spectral range reduces the complexity and running costs of industrial systems initially based on UV light sources. Where UV wavelength is required, the TruMicro 5360 with a specified UV crystal life-time of more than 10 thousand hours of continues operation at 15W is an excellent choice. Currently this is the world’s most powerful industrial sub-10 ps UV laser.
We report on power scaling of a modelocked thin disk laser (TDL) based on the broadband mixed sesquioxide material
Yb:LuScO<sub>3</sub> (22 nm full width half maximum (FWHM) emission bandwidth). In a first experiment, we could demonstrate
pulse durations as short as 195 fs at a moderate average power of 9.5 W. Furthermore, we were able to power scale our
TDL while keeping the pulses short reaching 23 W at a pulse duration of 235 fs. A key element to achieve this result was
the design of new SESAM structures with multiple quantum wells (QW) and a suitable dielectric topcoating, resulting in
SESAMs with appropriate parameters for short pulse geneartion, low two-photon absorption (TPA) and high damage
thresholds. We will present SESAM optimization guidelines for short pulse generation from high-power modelocked
Ultrafast thin disk lasers achieve higher pulse energies and average power levels than any other modelocked oscillators.
The key components of SESAM modelocked thin disk lasers are used in reflection, which is an advantage for the
generation of ultrashort pulses with excellent temporal, spectral and spatial properties. We review the development and
report latest results. We report on successful scaling of a Yb:Lu<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> thin disk laser to 141 W average power, setting a new record for mode-locked laser oscillators. Such performance is important for a growing number of applications such as
material processing or driving experiments in high field science.