We report on novel evaluation methodology of high-power diode lasers that potentially will increase the reliability level of these devices. The study is carried out for wide-stripe, 808 nm diode lasers with low fast-axis beam divergence that base on a double-barrier single quantum well separate confinement heterostructure. The diodes are assembled in standard packages with base diameter &slasho; = 9 mm. Degradation of diode lasers is a result of the interaction between internal and external factors. Thus, insight into degradation mechanisms is only possible with a complex characterization of the devices. In our analysis we involved standard measurements such as current-voltage, light-current characterizations, as well as advanced methods such as high-resolution thermography. The latter one allows for investigations of thermal properties of diode lasers including fast temperature profiling and defect recognition. We discuss the usefulness of above techniques for screening purposes. Finally we present results of reliability tests of the diode lasers. A correlation between initial tests and lifetest results is shown.
We demonstrate the applicability of imaging thermography for investigations of mechanisms associated with gradual degradation in diode lasers. The introduction of two spectral channels provides the means for separate observation of deep level luminescence and thermal radiation emitted according to Planck's law. In the near IR region we found the signal detected by the camera to be mainly affected by mid-gap deep-level luminescence. An intensity increase of the luminescence signal for an aged diode laser compared to an unaged device is noticed. It can be explained by an increase of deep level defect concentration during the aging. In the mid IR, we mainly encounter thermal radiation, which can be used for the analysis of the thermal properties of devices. In present work the thermal behavior of the device subjected to an aging of 3000 hours is analyzed. A significant increase of device temperature is noticed.
Thermal properties of 808 nm emitting high-power diode lasers are investigated by means of micro-thermography. A thermo-camera equipped with a 384x288 pixel HgCdTe-detector (cut off wavelength at 5.5 micron) and IR-micro-objective is used, which allows for thermal imaging with a spatial resolution of 5 μm. A novel methodological approach for data re-calibration for absolute temperature measurements is proposed. We present steady-state thermal distributions from broad-area devices. The remarkable agreement of this data with the results of modeling work has been reached. Cross-calibration of the micro-thermographic results is obtained by complementary micro-Raman data that give information about facet temperatures with a spatial resolution of about 1 micron. Transient thermal properties are monitored with a temporal resolution of 1.4 ms. Such thermal transients illustrate the heat flow trough the device after turning on the operation current. Special experiments are done in order to detect and localize hot spots at the facet and within the devices. Moreover, we show that the analysis of thermal images can be used as a recognition method of defects hidden inside the cavity, even if they are not detectable by visual inspection. These activities are paving the way towards a novel screening methodology.