A diode driver is a device that provides a constant current or voltage to a laser diode. Different types of diode drivers are essential components in lasers of all sizes. They are used in everything from household devices to large industrial instruments, and also in any scientific testing equipment that uses lasers for either the input or the output.
The current that the laser receives can be adjusted by the user of the driver depending on what is needed. There are three main varieties of diode drivers. Their features and functions as well as their cost and size vary with the needs of the user.
A diode driver can be an instrument — a large device that is powered by either an applied or direct current. This is the most expensive kind of diode driver but offers the user the widest amount of control. These instruments feature visual displays as well as controls that allow the user to interact with and customize the output of the driver to meet the exact specifications for the application.
Modules are a more compact form of diode driver. These are connected to the circuit and are only minimally adjustable. They lack the displays that are present on the instrument form of a diode driver and require additional meters to determine the amount of voltage or current that they are supplying.
A component is an even more stripped-down type of diode driver. Components are not adjustable. Instead, the user must have a specific version of driver for each application.
In order to choose the appropriate diode driver, a user needs to consider a multitude of factors. The required voltage or current, the impedance, and the specifications of the received pulse must be known. These factors must all be considered to ensure that the laser that is being used or the device the laser is working with runs properly and that unwanted effects do not occur.
Diodes also have uses in transistor drivers, which are also sensitive to small adjustments in the electrical loads they receive. In these drivers, smaller diode systems are used together with capacitors to determine if the system is receiving an improper amount of current or voltage. If so, an alarm can then be raised to let technicians know about it.
As laser and other light-based technologies advance, diode drivers will be used to power these devices. The drivers will support the new enhanced features and uses of lasers. Their application in expanding fields such as fiber optics ensures their increasing presence in environments ranging from households, to laboratories, to industrial sites.