|Martin Konk of Trumpf Photonics shows off some of the photonics used in Trumpf's laser-diode pump modules, including resonator and beam-guidance mirrors and beam-shaping optics. The components are all manufactured at the Trumpf Photonics site in Cranbury, NJ. (Photo: John Wallace)|
Farmington, CT -- On Friday Sept. 28, Trumpf Photonics, Inc. celebrated the 10th anniversary of its production facility in Cranbury, NJ. Trumpf acquired the business, which was formerly Princeton Lightwave Inc. (PLI), for its semiconductor and wafer-production capabilities. The plant is producing diode chips, optics, and electronics and assembling then into pump and direct-diode modules for Trumpf's industrial lasers.
Peter Leibinger, a member of the family that owns Trumpf, detailed the facility's history. Early on, Trumpf had been buying its laser diodes (LDs) from other makers, but during the telecom bubble, when virtually all LD production was going into satisfying the booming market for communications devices, Trumpf could not get the devices it needed and decided to make its own LDs. The company acquired Princeton Lightwave, a company that had its roots in the well-known David Sarnoff Research Center in the Princeton, NJ area.
Reaching vertical integration
However, the transition was more difficult than anticipated: the switch in industries (from telecom to high-power laser pumps) required a change in LD wavelengths as well as a general change in mindset. A six-year development process led to a ramping up of production in 2008 at the Cranbury facility. "It seemed a long and winding road," says Leibinger, "but we needed to achieve vertical integration of our laser systems."
Now, Trumpf Photonics supplies the LDs for all of Trumpf's products worldwide, including its TruDisk solid-state lasers and TruDiode direct-diode systems. Trumpf Photonics also supplies the pump diodes for TruMicro lasers, optical coating and component assembly for CO2 and solid-state lasers, beam delivery systems, and the high power solid-state RF generators found in all TruLaser machines (the TruLasers are fiber-delivered laser cutting systems). Trumpf Photonics says that it is the largest high-power-bar based semiconductor-laser manufacturer worldwide, and claims a yield of 90% or more in the manufacturing of its pump diodes.
Note: Princeton Lightwave continues today as a separate company unaffiliated with Trumpf, developing and producing avalanche photodiodes and arrays, as well as long-wavelength (1.3 to 2 micron) indium phosphide based high-power lasers and superluminescent diodes. Princeton Lightwave is just down the road from Trumpf Photonics in Cranbury.