Blue high-power semiconductor lasers have increased greatly in performance over the recent decade enabling new application fields from high brightness projection up to materials processing beyond 1000W output power systems. Base for best system performance is optimal chip design and reliability of the semiconductor device. In this paper chip design optimization of blue high-power semiconductor laser bars will be shown: In contrast to IR laser bars with high lateral emitter fill factors beyond 50%, optimum design with maximum output power and efficiency for GaN laser bars is currently at very low fill factors in the range of 10%. Laser bar designs ranging from 5% fill factor up to 12.5% fill factor were fabricated and investigated. Additionally, two different emitter pitches with 200μm and 400μm were compared. The design with an emitter width of 30μm and a pitch of 400μm resulted in overall best performance. Additionally, lifetime investigations of single emitters in TO-packages will be discussed. The laser diodes were tested up to 5000h duration at different conditions in operating temperatures ranging from 64°C to 96°C and output power up to 3.5W. Dominating degradation mechanism is wear-out which is accelerated by optical output power and additional thermal activation. Extrapolation of the test results in combination with an acceleration model points towards a median lifetime of up to 65.000h for 25°C operation.
More and more applications are using GaN laser diodes. Visible blue laser devices are well established light sources for converter based business projection of several thousand Lumens. Additional laser-based concepts like near-to-eye projection push device requirements above heretofore limits. In 2017, threshold currents of 10 and 20mA were reported for single mode blue and green laser, respectively. We will present a drastic reduction of laser threshold of green R&D laser samples by more than a factor of 2 down to 10mA. We also will discuss turn-on delay as a limiting factor for modulation speed and spatial resolution of flying spot projection.
On the other side, new applications may occur in the near future. We will present research data on blue laser bars as a possible component for industrial applications like for materials processing. LIV characteristics are measured up to power levels of 107W. We observe power conversion efficiencies of 44% at 60W output power for our best samples.
The range of applications of blue and green lasers is increasing from year to year. Driving factors are costs and performance. On one hand we study the characteristics of low power R&D c-plane laser structures with improved Gaussian vertical and horizontal beam profile: We present new best values for efficiencies of single mode green lasers of 10.8% at 517nm and new long wavelength data at 532nm with efficiency of 6.5%. Furthermore, we present a new R&D design of a blue single mode laser diode with a very low threshold of 8.5mA. On the other hand, recent R&D results on broad area multi-mode power designs are shown: Efficiencies of 43% at 4W optical output power are achieved. Lifetime tests as long as 10000h are presented. High reliability is reached by a new facet design.