Four Reasons Dollars per Watt Is the Wrong Metric When Choosing Diode Pumps for High-Power Lasers


For all laser applications, including commercial and defense, a primary objective is to maximize performance while minimizing cost. Within the telecommunications industry, a common metric when selecting a laser diode is the cost of the laser divided by the power of the emitted light—dollars per watt. Although dollars per watt is an effective metric for commercial applications, it is an oversimplification when designing the optical pumping system for a high-power laser, especially for military lasers, for several reasons. 


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  • Differing Technologies: Dollars per watt is only relevant for “apples-to-apples” comparisons when all other factors are equal, which is rarely true for diode-pump laser systems. For example, there are many ways to design a 200-watt fiber-coupled laser module. Comparing only the price of each system overlooks other important factors such as the design aspects to allow operation under a variety of harsh environments.
  • SWaP+C: For defense applications, mobility is of paramount concern, particularly for airborne systems. In these instances, minimizing size, weight, and power (SWaP) is just as important as minimizing cost (C).
  • Commoditization: Because of the specialized nature of military lasers, it is unlikely that any specific model of commercial diode-pump laser will be an ideal fit. Purchasing a low-cost, off-the-shelf diode can place expensive constraints on the overall laser system design.
  • Supply Chain Security: For defense applications, it is imperative to have an uninterruptible supply of components from sources that meet regulatory requirements. It is therefore critical to consider a laser diode supplier based on its ability to scale production, its financial health, and its sensitivity to import regulations.

Lasertel leverages two advantages to address the needs of the diode-laser pump market: unique laser technology and complete vertical integration. By controlling all aspects of design and assembly, Lasertel creates diode-laser pumps unmatched in the industry. Advantages include:

  • System-wide reduction of size and weight
  • Customized form factor
  • Rugged, hard-soldered interconnects
  • Aerospace-compatible cooling fluids
  • Simplified optical design and alignment
  • Scalable production volumes
Interested in learning how Lasertel can help optimize the overall cost and performance of your diode-laser pump system? Give us a call.

Learn more about choosing the right diodes for high energy laser systems in our white paper.
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