Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., in conjunction with Kyoto University’s Photonics and Electronics Science and Engineering Center and others, has developed the world’s first watt-level photonics crystal laser, a next-generation semiconductor laser light source. The group successfully demonstrated continuous room temperature operation of the new laser, which generated output of 1.5 watts while maintaining a narrow beam spread of less than 3 degrees. In addition, the group demonstrated the utility of the laser’s high brightness and high output by showing how it can burn through a substance through direct, lens-less irradiation. These results are a significant milestone for laser-based manufacturing (in Japan), as they lay the groundwork for the future adoption of this new type of laser for laser excitation, wavelength conversion, biotechnology, analytical chemistry, and other applications.
Results of the group’s research have already been published in the electronic version of Nature Photonics, and will appear in the May 2014 issue of the publication. Portions of this research were supported by grants from the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s ACCEL Program and from the Photon Frontier Program of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.