Element Six, the leader in synthetic diamond supermaterials, announced the use of its diamond by researchers at MQ Photonics Research Centre to demonstrate a diamond laser 20 times more powerful than previous diamond laser systems. Leveraging Element Six’s low-absorption single-crystal chemical vapor deposited (CVD) diamond, the research team developed a laser that delivered up to 380 W of output power, which is the equivalent of approximately 400,000 laser pointers and enough power to cut through steel.
“We are continuously seeking improvements and specific adaptations to our synthetic diamond in order to extend what’s possible in key technology sectors, including high power laser systems,” said Steve Coe, executive director of Element Six. “With the creation of our low-absorption single crystal diamond, we have surpassed previous barriers, and are proud that our diamond has helped the research teams at MQ Photonics to deliver a dramatic improvement in power output.”
Polycrystalline diamond is already a material of choice for exit windows in high-power CO2 laser systems and for thermal management of Nd:YVO4 crystals in disk lasers due to its thermal, mechanical and optical characteristics. Element Six has now developed low-absorption single-crystal diamond, which has an absorption coefficient of less than 0.005 cm=1 @ 1064 nm, which when combined with high gain and the highest thermal conductivity of any material means it’s the stand out Raman laser crystal.
High-power diamond lasers are uniquely suited to applications such as space optical communications, laser ranging, directed energy, imaging and the tracking removal of space debris. Using Element Six’s low-absorption single-crystal synthetic diamond, the laser system developed by MQ Photonics Research Centre and Fraunhofer Institute pumped at 1 micron had an emission wavelength of 1240 nm. This wavelength is of particular note for applications involving atmospheric propagation as well as being much less hazardous from an eye-safety point of view.
“We see this remarkable achievement as only the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible with advanced laser technology leveraging synthetic single crystal CVD diamond material,” said Prof. Rich Mildren, the lead researcher on the project and research fellow at MQ Photonics Research Centre. “Its extraordinary properties are clearly evident and played a critical role in achieving such a high output power combined with excellent beam quality. There is abounding excitement for what future milestones can be reached with further research and development.”