SBIR Phase II: Hydrothermal Growth of Ultra-High Performance Nd:YVO4 Laser Crystals
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
377 Carowinds Blvd., Fort Mills, SC, 29708
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will focus on the development of a commercial process for the growth of Neodymium Yttrium Vanadate (Nd: YVO4) single crystals for use in solid-state lasers. This research will generate the commercially viable conditions for growth of large boules of single crystals suitable for use in diode pumped solid-state lasers. The hydrothermal method is a low temperature growth technique that leads to crystals containing less thermal strain, much fewer defects and greater homogeneity than conventional methods. These defects combine to cause considerable optical loss and concomitant reduction in performance. The hydrothermal technique has slower growth kinetics and requires chemical development for economically viable growth. In the Phase I project, preliminary growth conditions that lead to suitable single crystals were identified. These conditions include approximate thermal ranges, a variety of starting materials, seed crystals and mineralizer concentrations. In the Phase II project growth conditions will be systematically optimized to provide suitable transport rates and crystal quality. Once an acceptable growth is developed, the resulting boules will be evaluated for performance efficiency and loss. Commercially benefits will emerge as the company introduces new higher performance crystal materials to the market that cannot be grown by existing crystal growth methods. In addition, new laser materials will be donated to Clemson University for design of new laser devices and cavities supporting the University's participation in the emerging photonics Coalition of the Carolinas that includes Clemson, the OptoElectronics Center at UNC-Charlotte, COMSET at Clemson University, and the Carolina MicroOptics Consortium.
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