Hamamatsu, Kyoto University Develop Commercially Viable Photonic Crystal Laser

Japan-based opto-electronics company Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. and Kyoto University’s Photonics and Electronics Science and Engineering Center have co-developed a photonic crystal laser, which provides high output and high beam quality at a single wavelength while controlling beam spread. The new laser potentially can be used as a light source for a variety of applications, including direct-laser microfabrication, laser excitation, wavelength conversion in projectors, position detection, distance and profile measurement and motion sensing.

An expanded emission area is required to increase power from a semiconductor laser. However, this typically results in a reduction of beam quality, because the laser excitation produces a multiphasic beam. Kyoto University Professor Susumu Noda discovered that an artificial optical nano structure, called a photonic crystal, could remedy this. He has worked with Hamamatsu since 2007 to develop high-output semiconductor lasers that preserve beam quality.

Hamamatsu plans to begin offering samples of the new laser with continuous wave 0.2-W output power to domestic and foreign medical device manufacturers and other instrument makers beginning in Q2 2014.

— Miki Anzai, Editor, MEDTEC Medical Device Magazine Japan