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Space Applications

Reliability and performance in the vacuum of space. Long-lifetime lasers are required to survive decades without repairs or recalibration and thousands of temperature cycles. They will be exposed to temperatures ranging from -55 to 85 °C, from the chilling darkness behind the Earth to the extreme heat of the sun. They will also be exposed to high mechanical stresses, including severe shock and vibration. Designing a laser for success in space is particularly demanding because size, weight, and power must be as small as possible to minimize launch cost. Sheaumann has time-tested, space-qualified solutions.

There are several key factors related to designing a laser module for long life in the most demanding environments.

1. Thermal Cycling

Through effective design, thermal stress between the layers can be minimized. Our expert MOCVD engineers select materials based on three key criteria: 1) high thermal conductivity to remove heat from the die; 2) compatible thermal expansion through the metal stack; and 3) material strength to maintain structural integrity under high shock and vibration.

LEO article heat diagram
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2. The Laser Die/Chip Heat Dissipation

Our experienced MOCVD engineers design the best metal layers and thicknesses to avoid high thermal impedances. Although modeling tools are available to help with this task, decades of experience are necessary to master this art; the technique is so subtle, it has not been fully captured in modeling tools. The chip must reliably operate at very high junction temperatures.

LEO article heat diagram
click to enlarge

3. Reduction in thermal sensitivity to achieve stable optical performance

Thermal expansion moves the fiber relative to the aperture of the die and reduces the light coupled into the fiber. To maintain consistent power into the fiber, the system must be made less sensitive to this movement. Sheaumann’s in-house packaging and laser die design system can enable the creation and fabrication of unique die structures. By altering the physical properties of the beam emitted from the die, it is possible to maintain consistent power into the fiber across the required temperature range.

4. Package Hermeticity

High Levels of hermiticity are directly related to laser lifetime. Sheaumann’s laser packages are hermetically sealed with a novel process. Our factory is equipped with the ability to test the package for fine and gross leaks.

Sheaumann Laser can offer laser diodes within very tight tolerances (+/-3nm) and due to our in-house foundry capabilities, we can grow custom wavelengths within the 780-1070 wavelength range. Need 888nm for your specific application? Yes, we can do that! By manipulating some of the many fabrication processes on even a molecular level, we can tailor laser diode characteristics for optimal performance within your system. Since each wafer yields thousands of laser chips, we can easily scale up to large production once your product takes off.

Sheaumann offers continuous wave (CW) Diode lasers from 780-1070 with output power up to 30W in a variety of mounts and packages.

Because innovation is required for a laser module to succeed in space, traditional design rules will need to be broken and the designs remade from scratch. Sheaumann’s ability to alter its laser diode design and fabrication, along with its ability to process and package in-house, are keys to success.

Case Study

TESAT

Our in-house wafer growth, processing, and packaging capabilities allow us to provide custom solutions for demanding projects of any size.

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