Automated alignment of optical components for high-power diode lasers
Despite major progress in developing brilliant laser sources a huge potential for cost reductions can be found in simpler setups and automated assembly processes, especially for large volume applications. In this presentation, a concept for flexible automation in optics assembly is presented which is based on standard micro assembly systems with relatively large workspace and modular micromanipulators to enhance the system with additional degrees of freedom and a very high motion resolution. The core component is a compact flexure-based micromanipulator especially designed for the alignment of micro optical components which will be described in detail. The manipulator has been applied in different scenarios to develop and investigate automated alignment processes. This paper focuses on the automated alignment of fast axis collimation (FAC) lenses which is a crucial step during the production of diode lasers. The handling and positioning system, the measuring arrangement for process feedback during active alignment as well as the alignment strategy will be described. The fine alignment of the FAC lens is performed with the micromanipulator under concurrent analysis of the far and the near field intensity distribution. An optimization of the image processing chains for the alignment of a FAC in front of a diode bar led to cycle times of less than 30 seconds. An outlook on other applications and future work regarding the development of automated assembly processes as well as new ideas for flexible assembly systems with desktop robots will close the talk.