An injection laser diode (ILD), diode laser, or laser diode (LD), is a semiconductor device similar to a light-emitting diode in which a laser beam is created at the diode’s junction. Laser diodes can directly convert electrical energy into light. Driven by voltage, the doped p-n-transition allows for recombination of an electron with a hole. Due to the drop of the electron from a higher energy level to a lower one, radiation, in the form of an emitted photon is generated. This is spontaneous emission. Stimulated emission can be produced when the process is continued and further generate light with the same phase, coherence and wavelength.
In the past several years, the commercial and industrial use of laser diodes has increased dramatically. The optical characteristics, small size, and their overall ruggedness has allowed many new uses to be commercialized.
Once bulky and labor intensive, today’s lasers come in user-friendly, single diode models and are used in so many objects throughout our daily lives that they are almost taken for granted.
Uses of laser diodes can be categorized in various ways. Most applications could be served by larger solid-state lasers or optical parametric oscillators, but the low cost of mass-produced diode lasers makes them essential for mass-market applications. Diode lasers can be used in a variety of fields; since light has many different properties (power, wavelength, spectral and beam quality, polarization, etc.) it is useful to classify applications by these basic properties.
They are used in various measuring instruments, such as rangefinders. Another common area is in barcode readers. Visible lasers, typically red but also green, are common laser pointers that use laser diodes. Low and high-power diodes are used in the printing industry. Both as a light source for scanning of images and for very high-speed, high-resolution printing plate manufacturing.
You’ll find infrared and red laser diodes commonly used in CD players, CD-ROMs and DVD technology. Violet lasers are used in HD DVD and Blu-ray technology. High-power laser diodes are used in industrial applications such as heat treating, cladding, seam welding and for pumping other lasers, such as diode-pumped solid-state lasers.
Medicine has found many new uses for diode lasers. The shrinking size and cost of the units coupled with their increasingly friendliness makes them very attractive to clinicians for minor soft tissue procedures, like hair removal.
We manufacture lenses for laser diode collimators, CD and DVD players, laser pointers, laser levels, laser surface inspection systems and positioning and measuring equipment. We have many in stock, however, if you don’t see exactly what you require, we will make a precision lens to meet your companies’ specifications.