Howard John Baker


  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

1988 …2015

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Professor Baker received Physics and Ph.D. in Laser Physics from Manchester University. Postdoctoral research at Manchester was on pulsed iodine photo-dissociation lasers. In 1980, he became a Lecturer in Applied Physics at Hull University, with research on mercury halide and TEA CO2 lasers and magnetic switching circuits for electrical pulse generation. In 1987, he became Senior Lecturer in Physics at Heriot-Watt University allowing research specialisation in both laser physics and laser engineering. He played a leading role in development of scalable lasers with RF discharge excitation, and CO2 planar waveguide and array lasers were pioneered. The work aided the establishment of a currently successful laser manufacturer in the UK. This expertise in the new CO2 laser technology led to applications research on laser drilling of circuit boards, machining of unfired LTCC ceramic laminations and precision micro-machining and polishing of silica optics.

Research interests

His main laser technology interest has been in high power diode lasers, used directly or as pump units for solid-state lasers. A novel diode pumping scheme led to world-leading performance from planar waveguide solid-state lasers. He devised a new technique for fabricating optics to correct the poor beam quality of diode laser bars, combining a novel wavefront measurement technique with custom laser micro-machining. He co-founded PowerPhotonic Ltd, aimed at commercialising this process. Current research continues on the use of laser direct-writing techniques in optics manufacture, and application of laser-cut optics in the general area of high average power industrial diode lasers. A new area is ceramic technology research on vacuum sintered, transparent laser materials for solid-state laser amplifiers and laser-machined LTTC ceramic substrate technology for diode laser packaging. 

Roles & Responsibilities

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Research Output

Analytical model for CO2 laser ablation of fused quartz

Nowak, K. M., Baker, H. J. & Hall, D. R., 6 Oct 2015, In : Applied Optics. 54, 29, p. 8653-8663 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 12 Citations (Scopus)

    Femtosecond pulse generation at 50 W average powers from an Yb:KYW-Yb:YAG planar-waveguide MOPA

    Ramirez-Corral, C. Y., Thomson, I. J., Leburn, C. G., Hall, D. R., Reid, D. T. & Baker, H. J., 2013, XVIIIth International Conference on Ultrafast Phenomena. Chergui, M., Taylor, A., Cundiff, S., de Vivie-Riedle, R. & Yamagouchi, K. (eds.). EDP Sciences, 3 p. (EPJ Web of Conferences; vol. 41).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Locking and wavelength selection of an ultra-collimated single-mode diode laser bar by a volume holographic grating

    Trela, N., Baker, H. J. & Hall, D., 25 Feb 2013, In : Optics Express. 21, 4, p. 4512–4517 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 4 Citations (Scopus)
    346 Downloads (Pure)

    Thermal and non-thermal lensing of Yb: YAG and Tm: YAG thin slab laser gain media

    Fulford, B. S., Hall, D. R., Lee, J. R. & Baker, H. J., 2013, The European Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics 2013. Optical Society of America, (Optics InfoBase Conference Papers).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Femtosecond pulses at 50-W average power from an Yb:YAG planar waveguide amplifier seeded by an Yb:KYW oscillator

    Leburn, C. G., Ramirez-Corral, C. Y., Thomson, I. J., Hall, D. R., Baker, H. J. & Reid, D. T., 30 Jul 2012, In : Optics Express. 20, 16, p. 17367-17373 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    8 Citations (Scopus)
    420 Downloads (Pure)