Technology /Why Now?
Discussion and research on using high power lasers in the oil, gas, geothermal, and mining markets extends back to the 1960s. Until now the available high power gas lasers required high voltages and precision alignments that made them extremely large, inefficient, and too fragile to transport.
The fiber laser however consists of modular architecture of coupling individual high power laser diodes to an active fiber that is built from the “bottom up” to create higher and higher powers.
This architecture gave rise to a logarithmic scaling of cost and power.
Over the past decade, advancements in fiber laser technology have
- Increased power availability from less than 1 kW to greater than 50 kW
- Reduced costs from greater than $1000/W to less than $50/W
- Allowed rugged field transportation and operation
Over time, these high power fiber lasers have begun to dominate the multi-$B high power materials processing and welding market. For second generation applications, a recent Science Magazine article described that “the volume manufacturability, scalability, and reliability of active fiber technology makes this a tremendously exciting proposition for the next few decades.”