Thermal behavior and power scaling potential of membrane external-cavity surface-emitting lasers (MECSELs)

Hoy My Phung, Philipp Tatar-Mathes, Aaron Rogers, Patrik Rajala, Sanna Ranta, Hermann Kahle, Mircea Guina

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Membrane external-cavity surface-emitting lasers (MECSELs) have great potential of power scaling owing to the possibility of double-side cooling and a thinner active structure. Here, we systematically investigate the limits of heat transfer capabilities with various heat spreader and pumping parameters. The thermal simulations employ the finite-element method and are validated with experimental results. The simulations reveal that double-side cooling lowers the temperature by about a factor of two compared to single-side cooling when diamond and silicon carbide (SiC) heat spreaders are used. In comparison, the benefit for a thermally worse conductive heat spreader is larger, i.e. a fourfold decrease for sapphire. Furthermore, we investigate the limits of power scaling imposed by the intrinsic lateral heat flow of the heat spreaders that sets how much the pump beam diameter can be enlarged while having efficient cooling. To this end, the simulations for sapphire reveal a limit for the pump beam diameter within the hundred micrometer range, while for SiC and diamond the limit is more than double. Moreover, pumping with a super-Gaussian beam profile could further reduce the temperature rise near the center of the pump area compared with a Gaussian beam. Finally, we investigate the benefits of double-side pumping of thick membrane gain structures, revealing a more homogeneous axial temperature distribution than for single-side pumping. This can be crucial for gain membranes with thicknesses larger than ~ 1μm to fully exploit the power-scaling ability of MECSEL technology.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE journal of quantum electronics
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • finite element method
  • Membranes
  • semiconductor lasers
  • simulation
  • thermal modelling

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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