By Lauent Vaissie, Tom Steele, and Paul T. Rudy
The most common application of high-power diode lasers is to pump the gain media of solid-state and fiber-laser systems. Over the last two decades, the availability of high-power diode pumps at wavelengths like 808 nm has enabled enormous improvements in laser-system operating efficiency and compactness compared to traditional lamp-pumped lasers. However, those diodes have otherwise not been optimal for the broadening array of pump applications. Specifically, diodes have had only moderate spatial brightness, a limited range of wavelengths available, and poor spectral stability requiring precise temperature control, which adds complexity and cost.