Cryogenically-cooled solid-state lasers

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Optoelectronics Research Centre


The aim of this project is to develop a novel laser platform operating at a sub-1-micron wavelength, with high energy storage capacity that enables Q-switching to create energic pulses to be frequency converted into the blue-green spectral region and then subsequently into the deep UV. High average-, and peak-power, sources are being sought out for precision materials processing applications, where a shorter wavelength will improve processing efficiency and speed.
A solid-state laser architecture, with the possibility of exploiting versatility in designing the pulse duration and energy, will offer the chance to compete with industry-standard excimer gas lasers, with the advantage of not relying on harmful gases and high-voltage discharges to generate UV light, like the latter do. Furthermore, operation in a several 10's kHz repetition rates will allow these lasers to be exploited for extremely fast and precise micro-processing applications, ideal for applications in electronics or automotive-parts manufacturing.
In order to achieve the targeted features, we will employ the aggressive cooling of the gain media to cryogenic temperatures. This power-and-energy-scaling technique has proved to be very successful and is currently employed in eminent laser laboratories (MIT Lincoln Laboratory - to demonstrate multi-hundreds-of-watts average power lasers, in addition to national facilities such as Rutherford Appleton Laboratory for the next generation extreme power laser systems.
At the end of the project we will have identified key design aspects for the development of these novel laser platforms that will allow the manufacturing of these devices at industrial level.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509747/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1921236 Studentship EP/N509747/1 29/09/2016 31/10/2020 Silvia Cante
Description Fundamental parameters to laser operation have been measured. These results will result in a better understanding and precise modelling of the laser performance, making it easier to design cryogenically-cooled solid-state lasers.
Exploitation Route Anyone who wishes to design a cryogenically-cooled solid-state Nd:YAG laser operating on the 946nm wavelength can use the outcomes of this project to predict the laser performance.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology