High-power semiconductor lasers are the most efficient man-made light sources, and can convert more than 80% electric energy into light. Currently emission powers of one kW continuous-wave powers are extracted from a single monolithic semiconductor chip. We are interested in the intrinsic limitations of such optoelectronic devices in terms of output power, beam quality (brightness) and lifetime (reliability). For this purpose, we analyze devices, but also their components such as surfaces and interfaces or gain materials such as quantum wells, superlattices and quantum dots.
For our experiments, we use optical tools, in particular transient spectroscopy that represents a generic competence of MBI. Such work is naturally carried out as collaborative work with device vendors, who provide us with high-quality industry-grade devices and structures. The use of such devices ensures high reproducibility and the chance to get general results, which not depend on the particular device structure that was studied. In BMBF-projects such as BlauLas, we work together with Osram OS (Regensburg), Dilas GmbH (Mainz) and Laserline GmbH (Mülheim) or in the frame of bilateral research contracts with Lumentum (Santa Clara) and 3S-Photonics (Nozay).
The material basis of the investigated devices is now focused to GaN-based wide-bandgap devices emitting in the ultraviolet to blue spectral regions.
The figure shows damage patterns as observed in 450-nm emitting high power diode lasers after it experienced the so-called catastrophic optical damage in short-pulse operation. Subfigure (a) shows the damage patterns at the font facet, where the light leaves the device (red circle), while (b) shows the same region from the side. A channel is visible which burned into the device and ends ~80 µm underneath the front facet; see (c). Subfigure (d) shows the end of this channel in higher resolution. The quantum wells, i.e. the gain medium are well resolved.