Trumpf GmbH + Co. KG's newest subsidiary will collaborate with an outside group to drive development of energy-efficient laser diodes for materials processing. Set to open for business Oct. 1, the Berlin subsidiary will have a staff of 10 led by Dr. Stephan Strohmaier. They will work closely with researchers from the Ferdinand Braun Institute's Leibniz Institute for High-Frequency Technology (FBH). Trumpf, headquartered in Ditzingen, has already worked with FBH for several years on brilliant, high-power diode lasers. The company also funds several doctoral studentships at FBH. "Over the past years, our research activities have resulted in numerous patents, enabling further improvements to diode lasers," said FBH director and professor Günther Tränkle. "The demand is there and will continue to grow, because the market for laser systems that can process and cut metals is vast." The laser diode is a key module in today's laser technology, where it is used both as a pump source and as direct diode laser. With direct diode lasers, the laser radiation of several diodes is combined using optical elements to create a single beam with increased focusability. This combination beam, one tenth of a millimeter in diameter, can be used to cut metals such as steel in the automotive and shipbuilding industries. Diode-pumped solid-state lasers have long been an indispensable tool in automotive production. Courtesy of Trumpf. For some materials, such as the tempered steel used in the manufacture of monocoque safety cells in automobiles, the laser is virtually unrivaled, and has long since become an indispensable tool in production, according to Trumpf. "For cutting thick sheet metal, a very powerful laser beam is required," Strohmaier said. "Our goal is to efficiently combine ever more laser power inside an ever more brilliant beam — and we're getting better at it all the time." Diode-pumped solid-state lasers and direct diode lasers offer efficiencies of 30 to 40 percent, according to Trumpf. "We're attempting to look 10 years ahead here and to lay the foundations for future applications," said Dr. Berthold Schmidt, head of Trumpf's central R&D department.