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What is a Laser Diode Heat Sink?
A high quality laser diode heat sink, also referred to as a mount, is typically constructed from anodized aluminum, copper or nickel plated copper. Because laser diodes are extremely succesptible to damage from high temperatures, the primary function of the heat sinnk is to keep the laser under a specified maximum temperature. Heat sinks and mounts are just as important to safe control of a diode laser as the power supply. They are commonly referred to as actively cooled or as passively cooled. Actively cooled refers to the addition of a peltier cooler embedded into the heat sink. The peltier is typically mounted just below the laser package. Passively cooled implies that the heat is conductively transferred out of the laser package through the heat sink and into the surrounding ambient air. A well designed heat sink will often include a thermal interface or phase change material to reduce the thermal resistance between the laser diode and the heat sink base. It will often also include a TEC / Peltier cooler and a temperature sensor to monitor the laser's package temperature. The goal, of course, is to keep the case and internal laser chip temperature under a desired maximum temperature. Failure to keep the laser package and chip below the specified maximum temperature will typically lead to over-heating which will damage or destroy the laser. If you have a heat sink or a mounting fixture which you would like to add to this list, please use the link below: