Encyclopedia … combined with a great Buyer's Guide!

Sponsoring this encyclopedia:     and others

How Laser Development Can Go Wrong

Posted on 2008-02-14 as a part of the Photonics Spotlight (available as e-mail newsletter!)

Permanent link: https://www.rp-photonics.com/spotlight_2008_02_14.html

Author: , RP Photonics Consulting GmbH

Abstract: Laser development projects can easily fail, in the end requiring far more time and resources than originally anticipated. The reason is usually a non-systematic approach. The article gives a fictional example for a failed process, and suggests a better approach.

Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta

Ref.: encyclopedia article on laser development

Much of the content of this Photonics Spotlight article was previously part of the encyclopedia article on laser development. I decided to move it here, as the Spotlight appears to be a more suitable place.

Let us deal with a fictional story, which will probably remind many of what they experienced in real life. A diode-pumped passively mode-locked solid-state laser needs to be developed. A common and apparently sensible but nevertheless risky approach is illustrated in the following:

Note that the taken approach included sensible step-by-step procedures, definitely made use of previous experience, and did not involve obvious mistakes. Why has it nevertheless worked so badly in this situation, which will surely look very familiar to many engineers? The main reasons are

Obviously we badly need an improved procedure for such development tasks. This is what the article on laser development presents, and does not need to be repeated here.

An interesting additional question is why despite all these advantages it is still very common particularly in smaller laser companies to muddle through, apparently ignoring the painful consequences. Some possible reasons are

There are ways, however, to deal with these obstacles. For sure, the really successful manufacturers have learned how to arrange a well working development process.

It is clear that except for rather trivial cases, a well structured development process is absolutely vital for a laser company. It does require contributions from a very experienced expert, who may have to be hired as an external consultant and will in any case spend a limited amount of time at a considerably higher salary per hour. However, overall this approach is nevertheless much cheaper and also generates revenue at an earlier stage. That temporal aspect is really very important – see the earlier article on time to market.

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 RP Photonics Encyclopedia.

Note that you can also receive the articles in the form of a newsletter or with an RSS feed.


If you like this article, share it with your friends and colleagues, e.g. via social media:

How do you rate this article?

Click here to send us your feedback!

Your general impression: don't know poor satisfactory good excellent
Technical quality: don't know poor satisfactory good excellent
Usefulness: don't know poor satisfactory good excellent
Readability: don't know poor satisfactory good excellent

Found any errors? Suggestions for improvements? Do you know a better web page on this topic?

Spam protection: (enter the value of 5 + 8 in this field!)

If you want a response, you may leave your e-mail address in the comments field, or directly send an e-mail.

If you enter any personal data, this implies that you agree with storing it; we will use it only for the purpose of improving our website and possibly giving you a response; see also our declaration of data privacy.

If you like our website, you may also want to get our newsletters!

If you like this article, share it with your friends and colleagues, e.g. via social media:

These social media sharing buttons are privacy-friendly!