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LDMblue: blue diode laser

High Power Blue Laser: Efficiency by Blue Laser Light

The blue diode laser LDMblue revolutionizes the processing of copper, gold and other highly reflective metals in multiple ways. The direct generation of up to 2 kW cw laser power in the 450 nm wavelength range is unique and also avoids the detour via complex and inefficient wavelength conversions. At the same time the absorption and thus process efficiency is increased by a factor of up to 20 compared to lasers in the 1 micron range. The precisely controllable energy deposition of the diode laser enables the melting of copper without evaporation, leading to a previously unattained stability of the melt pool. This opens up new application opportunities, such as heat conduction welding of thin copper foils.

Industry Proven System Concept

LDMblue is based on the 19’’ rack design of the LDM product family well established in industrial applications for many years. The modular system design enables maintenance and service of the lasers in the field. Pre-defined spare part modules allow central system components to be easily replaced by trained personnel. Besides the service concept, all interfaces for control and system integration remain unchanged. The control options also include the fast modulation of the high power diode laser output power with rise time less than 150 microseconds (10%-90%).

Scalable Laser Power

The Laserline typical modular system concept facilitates the stagewise scaling of the maximum LDMblue laser power. At the same time the beam quality can be adapted to process requirements by means of different diode stack configurations. This unique technology provides the flexibility, modularity and scalability already known from other Laserline products.

New Application Opportunities

The combination of the 450 nm wavelength with 2,000 Watt cw laser power opens up completely new opportunities for high-quality processing of copper and other highly reflective metals. Moreover can it be done almost independently of the surface condition e.g. oxidation in combination with the lack of spatters. This gives a new perspective for the creation of electrical interconnections which improves the welding process in electromobility applications, such as battery interconnection. Due to the world wide first system proving up to 2,000 W of blue laser power, many more applications are expected in the near future e.g. copper cladding. More information under Nonferrous Metal Welding or Copper Welding.

Welding of Thin Sheets

Tasks that are very challenging utilizing conventional joining techniques such as welding of thin copper foils and copper sheets with perfect cosmetic appearance are now possible. Furthermore, combinations of dissimilar metals can be realized with copper as first joining partner, for example copper to aluminium or copper to steel, which breaks the convention that copper must be the bottom joining partner. The new possible heat conduction process comes along with a high gap bridgeability, which allows the usage of novel component designs such as edge welds or butt joints, in order to increase the material efficiency.

Technical Advantages at the Glance

  • Laser power (CW) in the kilowatt range at a wavelength of 450 nm
  • Fast power control and power modulation
  • Optimized absorption in highly reflective metals
  • Industry proven system architecture
  • Highly stable process with quiet melt pool characteristics
  • Welding of stacked thin foils and copper sheets
  • Welding of dissimilar metals
  • 19’’ rack mount for easy integration of the blue diode laser into existing systems

Use of Blue Lasers in the Industry

Within three years and supported by the german government research programme EffiLAS (Efficient high-power laser beam sources)  a blue kilwatt diode laser could be built and optimized for the industrial application fields. This globally unique development opens a new segment in laser technology: the processing of materials with laser radiation in the visible wavelength range.

In many industrial applications, infrared lasers have achieved excellent results. However, for the processing of nonferrous metals, especially copper, the infrared beam is less suitable. An essential reason is the low absorption of the laser beam by nonferrous metals in this wavelength range. Because of this, welding processes often run instable while welding mistakes in production lead to rejects. To gain a high absorption rate, the use of  blue light with a wavelength of 450 nm is ideal. The multiple higher absorption facilitates high quality and even welding results in the laser processing of copper. The availability of the blue laser beam opens new application possibilities. Not only for the laser processing of nonferrous metals like copper or gold, but also for the jointing of different metals.

Especially in the field of regenerative energies and alternative drives, there is a new potential for the use of blue lasers in production. For example, around eight kilograms more copper is processed in the manufacture of electric cars than in passenger cars with combustion engines. This is a small value, but in total it offers a wide range of possible applications for blue lasers. For instance, in the manufacture of batteries, ten micrometers thin copper foils are joined together or joined with other metals. This is made possible for the first time by the use of high-power diode lasers with a blue light spectrum.
Significantly more copper is needed in the construction of wind turbines. Large offshore wind turbines use up to 30 tons of copper – here, too, the use of lasers is conceivable in the future. Due to the high seam quality, the process is also extremely well suited for applications in electrical engineering – especially in the manufacture of components in power electronics, where the joints must be particularly temperature-resistant.
In addition to electronic applications, the new wavelength of the blue laser also enables gold to be processed, making new applications in jewellery production possible. As technical development progresses, numerous other applications are expected to open up in the near future – starting the continuation of the rapid technological innovation in high-power diode lasers for industrial production in the new wavelength range.

Hybrid Laser Process: Blue + NIR

The combination of the blue laser radiation from LDMblue with a laser emitting in the infrared wavelength range leads to very stable and almost spatter-free keyhole welding processes. The blue laser stabilizes the process even while welding in the deep penetration mode. The NIR laser provides the additional energy. Laserline has developed special hybrid optics that combine the blue and NIR laser beams.

Read more about the hybrid laser process in our journal article on welding copper components.

Optical Specification

Output power (cw)*300 W500 W800 W1,500 W1,800 W2,000 W
Beam quality20 mm.mrad60 mm.mrad20 mm.mrad30 mm.mrad60 mm.mrad60 mm.mrad
Optical fiber400 µm [NA 0.1]600 µm [NA 0.2]400 µm [NA 0.1]600 µm [NA 0.1]600 µm [NA 0.2]600 µm [NA 0.2]
Fiber-coupling unitLLK-D/Auto
Fiber lengthFiber lengths of up to 20 m
Power stability< +/- 2% over 2 hours
Wavelength range445 nm +/- 20 nm

*Power specification at a fiber length of 5 m

Mechanical Specifications

VG5HWeight approx. 50 kg, dimensions: 19 inch rack mount 5 HE (220 mm), 636 mm installation depth
VG7HWeight approx. 110 kg, dimensions: 19 inch rack mount, 7 HE (312 mm), 706 mm installation depth