Direct-diode lasers are going beyond everyday use and can now cut and weld metal. Creating a laser strong enough to cut metal has been attempted in the past, but until now, all attempts have been unsuccessful.
The MIT Lincoln Laboratory spinout TeraDiode created a commercial multi-kilowatt diode laser that’s bright enough to cut and weld metal at a greater efficiency than any other industrial laser on the market. The TeraBlade can cut through a half-inch of steel using light directly from the diodes.
The TeraBlade works by employing a power-scaling technique called wavelength beam combining (WBC). This unique technique was developed by Robin Huang, a former Lincoln Laboratory researcher, and Bien Chann, TeraDiobe’s co-founder. The diode lasers in the TeraBlade are tiny semiconductor devices that turn electrons into photons that create a ray of laser light.
When overlapping beams at different wavelengths focus on a small spot, the laser becomes very intense.
The TeraBlade, based on WBC technology, is a laser module that holds diode laser bars, a diffraction grating, output lens, and a transform lens. Light from the lasers passes through the transform lens onto the diffraction grating, and forces beams into the same direction, superimposing the beams on one another. This is the force that allows the TeraBlade to have the power to cut and weld metal.
The beam from a TeraBlade is 100 times brighter than other direct-diode lasers.
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