High-power, slab-coupled optical waveguide laser array packaging for beam combining
January 23, 2007
Linear arrays of slab coupled optical waveguide lasers (SCOWL) are ideal sources for beam combining of array elements using techniques such as wavelength beam combining (WBC) and possibly coherent beam combining (CBC). SCOWL array elements have very high brightness, low divergence nearly diffraction limited output beams. Arrays of up to 1.2 cm in width containing as many as 240 elements have been demonstrated. In this presentation, the packaging techniques developed to ensure proper performance of SCOWL arrays will be described, with particular emphasis on the application to beam combining. A commercial high performance micro impingement cooler (MIC) was used to provide thermal management for these arrays. Based on performance data for this cooler, a numerical thermal model was constructed and used to investigate the thermal performance for several packaging schemes. In order to promote uniform optical performance of SCOWL array elements, assembly procedures, which included fluxless soldering using In and AuSn solder alloys, along with the use of thermal expansion matching materials were investigated. These techniques resulted in minimal contraction ([approx] 2 um) and smile ([approx]1 um) of the laser bar during the packaging procedure. Precise control of these parameters is required in order to minimize any detrimental impact on the resultant WBC beam quality. CBC of SCOWL arrays requires phase control of the array elements. Array packaging providing for individual electrical addressability of the array elements has been developed and demonstrated, allowing for phase control by current adjustment.