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The Photonics Spotlight

Lasers Like it Cool

Posted on 2006-07-14 as a part of the Photonics Spotlight (available as e-mail newsletter!)

Permanent link: https://www.rp-photonics.com/spotlight_2006_07_14.html

Author: Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta, RP Photonics Consulting GmbH

Abstract: Lasers have quite a few reasons to prefer not too high ambient temperatures: spectral broadening, population of the lower laser level, thermal conductivity, thermal quenching, mode or standing-wave overlap requirements, and material issues. There are some cases, though, where some amount of heat helps.

Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta

Sitting in my hot office, I am sure that lasers prefer lower ambient temperatures. They actually have plenty of reasons to do so:

But as it is with human beings, a few lasers like it hot. For example, they may require certain thermally activated effects for efficient operation. Also, VCSELs and VECSELs may be designed to have an optimum overlap of the standing-wave pattern with their quantum wells at a higher temperature. Strong cooling (cryogenic operation) can also reduce the gain bandwidth, which may be detrimental in some cases. So most like it cool, but a few don't.

This article is a posting of the Photonics Spotlight, authored by Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta. You may link to this page and cite it, because its location is permanent. See also the Encyclopedia of Laser Physics and Technology.

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