Next-generation infrared countermeasure (IRCM) systems call for compact and lightweight high-power laser sources. Specifically, optical output power of tens of Watts in the mid-wave infrared (MWIR) is desired. Monolithically fabricated arrays of quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) have the potential to meet these requirements. Single MWIR QCL emitters operating in continuous wave at room temperature have demonstrated multi-Watt power levels with wall-plug efficiency of up to ~20%. However, tens of Watts of output power from an array of QCLs translates into the necessity of removing hundreds of Watts per cm2, a formidable thermal management challenge. A potential thermal solution for such high-power QCL arrays is active cooling based on high-performance thin-film thermoelectric coolers (TFTECs), in conjunction with pumped porous-media heat exchangers. The use of active cooling via TFTECs makes it possible to not only pump the heat away, but also to lower the QCL junction temperature, thus improving the wall-plug efficiency of the array. TFTECs have shown the ability to pump >250W/cm2 at ΔT=0K, which is 25 times greater than that typically seen in commercially available bulk thermoelectric devices.
Advanced thermal management of high-power quantum cascade laser arrays for infrared countermeasures
Barletta, P. T., Diehl, L., Mark T., N., Bao, Y., Baldasaro, N. G., & Temple, D. S. (2017). Advanced thermal management of high-power quantum cascade laser arrays for infrared countermeasures. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 10435, . https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2279116