Life of a Laser

General question: Does the laser have a life span ? Does it wear down slowly or all at once? Also can I replace it with a more powerfull wattage or does that require a new board ? Also is there tips on how to prolong the life span ? I have a Vigotec Lx7 20 watt

Assuming you are talking about laser diodes:

Typically lifetimes of laser diodes are in the range of 25,000-50,000 hrs given that they are properly driven, cooled, and maintained. I am pretty sure they “wear out”, the how is multifaceted and complicated.

From my past experience, most failures are caused by driver problems and cooling failures. They are pretty sensitive to damage by power spikes but modern driver electronics have improved and provided good protection.

Typical kinds of events that can shorten life are:

  • Power surges, spikes, etc
  • Improper driving circuits
  • Damage to the optics from improper handling
  • Inadequate or failed cooling systems

Typical Preventions:

  • Minimize handling and never touch or try and clean the optics.
  • Wear nitrile gloves if you have to handle it.
  • Keep the laser away from volitile products they can damage the optics
  • Don’t solder near the optics
  • Prevent overheating. Running diodes at the low end of their heat spec. will dramatically increase life.
  • Prevent static discharge when handling by using electrostatic strap etc. and other electrostatic prevention methods.
  • Use the correct driver electronics
  • Eliminate power surges
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I’d expect it to be similar to visible wavelength LEDs, and “Inadequate or failed cooling systems” is probably a major factor here.

@John_Bump I know you have both laser and LED expertise, anything you would add? :slight_smile:

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Our eyes are very nonlinear. The last 20% of power going through the LED makes almost no difference in perceived brightness, but makes a significant difference in lifetime. So, yeah, if you can, reduce the current a bit, assuming you’re using LED’s for lighting.
For laser diodes, my memory was that in many cases there was actually damage to the output optic coating at high power and that was responsible for loss of the laser diode. But that was in multiwatt LD’s.

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