Alma is a global innovator of energy-based solutions for aesthetic lasers in the surgical and medical markets. As a market pioneer and key inventor of several proprietary, patented technologies, Alma has transformed the medical laser industry. Using Leonardo Electronics US, formally Lasertel, Alma continues to maintain a prominent position in the market, one step ahead of the competition.
We interviewed Physics Group Expert of Optics R&D at Alma, Asaf Klein, about the development of their new triple wavelength laser diode array. A new applicator design enabled by our engineering team enables Alma’s Soprano platform to cover the entire scope of hair removal—addressing all skin types, various hair colors, and hair follicle depths.
- What was the challenge you came to Leonardo Electronics US with?
The laser hair removal market is highly competitive, making price and quality primary areas of differentiation for key players. Alma, as the market pioneer and inventor of several proprietary patented technologies that transformed the industry, was developing the next innovation in the field—a triple wavelength laser applicator.
To create this new technology, we needed to add additional wavelengths to our existing portfolio. This required adding the challenging 755nm wavelength, on top of the regular and common 810nm and 1060nm wavelengths, within the laser diode array. We had previously worked with the laser solutions team on successful single and dual color stacks, so the triple wavelength was a natural progression. We turned to them to add the unique 755nm wavelength while maintaining high efficiency and reliability in our very specific operating conditions.
- Why was solving that challenge important to your business?
Combining these three specific laser wavelengths into one applicator enables us to cover the entire scope of hair removal addressing all skin types, various hair colors and hair follicle depths, and more. Learn more about the advantages of multi-wavelength diodes in this blog.
Improving the performance of the laser diode array in Alma’s operating conditions maintains Alma's product superiority, ensuring our customers can use the system with no downtime. Now, with their execution upon our research and development efforts, Alma is the first and only company to offer a highly effective triple wavelength laser in one laser diode array, further differentiating Alma as a leader in the industry.
- What other approaches did you consider and why did you choose this one?
We invested a lot of effort in conceiving, planning, and developing this innovative technology, so we were confident in taking this path. We consulted with other component suppliers who advised us to downgrade or change our system's operating conditions. This was not acceptable to Alma as it meant downgrading the device specifications which are important for performance and efficacy of the system. The other suppliers didn't supply a real solution to meet our needs and planned roadmap.
- What unique technology did the laser solutions team apply to the problem?
755nm wavelength bars are extremely unique and difficult to create, so this was a significant development. They managed to achieve higher efficacy than other solutions on the market.
Another aspect was improving the quality of the laser diode array to match the product’s operating conditions and extend its lifetime beyond 30 million pulses.
Alma's operating conditions were not easy to accomplish! But thanks to the cooperation and willingness to listen and learn on both sides, they did it. We are very pleased with the team's success.
- How did the new product design and manufacturing approach support your product development?
While Robert Walker, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, was a key contact, the communication channel was also opened to engineering and production. Leonardo’s integrated approach allowed for detailed attention to the entire manufacturing process, from wafer growth and processing to multi-bar array assemblies with integrated thermal management. Their team controls the entire laser diode array manufacturing process beginning with wafer growth and processing to individual bars at the desired wavelengths, assembly of the individual bars into laser diode arrays, and finally, attachment to the heat sink for cooling. To complete the process, the laser solutions facility even has the ability to test and run their products in various conditions, including Alma's defined conditions.
- How would you describe the outcome of the project?
Internally, Alma and the laser solutions team of Leonardo Electronics US were able to achieve the following:
- Maintained prominent position in the market, one step ahead of the competition, with a unique value proposition, benefiting all stakeholders.
- Improved quality, and consequently, reliability of Alma's flagship product.
For our customers, they can now better serve their aesthetic laser patients as triple wavelength lasers have significant benefits. There is no single color of “skin tone," so multi-wavelength systems allow for higher quality treatment across a broader customer base. It also allows for minimized discomfort for the patient and reduces procedure times.
We are looking forward to our next project with the team to develop the next generation product in terms of new wavelengths and larger arrays with higher power.
Are you facing a laser system design challenge? Contact us to talk through your project or learn more about our capabilities in medical laser diodes.