A laser diode converts the energy pumped into the system into light energy. Laser diodes are critical, and, unfortunately, many factors can end up reducing the diode’s life span. Diodes are incredibly sensitive to power spikes, and you can even damage them when you mishandle them. Read on to learn what you can do to improve the lifespan of your laser diodes.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their laser diode setup is that they touch and handle the laser in ways that damage it. Improper handling and cleaning can lead to damage, particularly for unpackaged lasers, as the semiconductor crystal and its coatings are incredibly sensitive. Therefore, you must wear nitrile gloves when handling your laser diodes to prevent other contaminants from your hand from passing to the device.
Additionally, you should do everything you can to avoid static discharge by using electrostatic straps and ESD table mats to handle the diodes. Also, never clean with solvents unless you have a hermetically sealed package; otherwise, you can generally use isopropyl alcohol.
A faulty cooling system can cause your laser diode to die quicker. Overheating is dangerous and can cause severe damage if left unchecked. To prevent this, consider running your diodes at the lower end of their heat specifications, as this helps increase their lifespan.
Another option you should consider is investing in a temperature controller. Doing this helps ensure that the laser works optimally and you keep it within proper operating temperatures, thus improving its lifespan.
Use a Stable Power Supply
Another factor that can drastically impact your laser diode’s lifespan is its power. Power surges and spikes can damage the electrical connections or optical cavity in the laser diode and weaken it while shortening its lifespan. To navigate this issue, invest in a proper driver to manage power circuits and supply the laser diode with a steady power supply. A laser diode is a current-sensitive device and requires a carefully controlled current to function correctly, and a good driver can guarantee these repeatable and consistent performances.
Maintaining a proper laser diode lifespan is critical for the health of your electrical system, and it’s relatively easy to do when you know the proper precautions to take. If you have issues with your laser diode’s lifespan, consider investing in a new laser diode power supply that supplies the diode with steady power. At Arroyo Instruments, we specialize in drivers like this that can help you do the job and keep your diodes healthy!