Diode laser assembly automated for the first time

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The joint research project 'PrOpSys' (production technology of optical systems for high power diode lasers), funded by the German federal ministry of education and research (BMBF) has reported a successful intermediate result. With the help of a novel assembling system, fully automated assembly and adjustment of a high power diode laser was demonstrated for the very first time. This opens up the way to a significant decrease of manufacturing costs in the highly competitive high power diode laser market.

Due to the fact that high power diode lasers are used as a light source in many other industries like automotive industry, plant machinery and engineering or telecommunication, these lasers play a pivotal role in the fast-growing market of optoelectronic products. Up to now, these high power diode lasers still need to be manually assembled in complex adjustment and assembly steps. In automatic adjustment, firstly the laser diode bar is activated. Thereupon, the collimator lens is located in front of the diode laser with the help of a micrometer-exact positioning system. This is done so that the connected metrology can collect and evaluate the laser radiation. The innovation of this development lies in the fact that several positions of the collimator lens can be tested in front of the laser diode bar.

This test comes about by means of especially developed methods of digital image processing for analysis of the intensity distribution of the laser radiation. As result of this image analysis, the optimised position for the lens is defined by the help of appropriate alignment algorithms. Finally, the lens is fixed in an exact position in front of the laser diode bar.

The system has been assembled by ficonTEC and is now running at the Fraunhofer IZM. The institute serves as technology test bed for development of further optimised adjustment and assembling processes for mass-production suited manufacturing of optoelectronic products.