I love to play with laser diodes and they have always been a fascinating thing for me. Usually, I play with $0.1$mW laser diode pointer (Which are just toys) . From some physics textbooks and videos , I learned a little bit about how lasing works , But I still wanted to know How a laser diode is made (meaning a teardown).Well, Inside of the pointer , I saw something like I saw in "Applied science" In his video "Laser diode self-mixing: Range-finding and sub-micron vibration measurement". There was just a p-layer, n-layer and some metal contacts with tiny bonding wires etc.

I Have been doing some internet searching about photolithography and found some fascinating video about making Intergrated circuit at a home workshop/lab (Like Sam Zeloof).Hygen Optics also has some nice videos about photolithography. Photolithography Is a complicated process,So I thought making custo laser diodes should be somewhat easier than that.(I am not taking about gas lasers (Co2) or pulsed laser (ruby))

After this I searched for making laser diodes(And thought maybe I can find many),But I only found dozens of videos about making laser diode drivers , Co2 lasers , pulsed ruby laser but not the kind of laser I was looking for. This made me kind of confused.

Nowadays , processes like photolithography are possible in home lab or workshops(Even if it takes expensive equipment's),But why there are no resources available about making laser diodes?Is it impossible?

Also , If it is possible , can some owning a home optical lab/workshop make a laser diode that can output
$4-5$ W?(like in styropyros videos)

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know if it's possible, but I would like to suggest that you also look at Thought Emporium's projects of vapour deposition at home (coating things in very thin layers of other things). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ The multimillion dollar CVD tool to grow the heterostructure needed for a laser diode, with highly toxic feed gases, is your real stumbling block. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ @JonCuster Based on these YouTube channels - Applied Science and Thought Emporium - I was very impressed by what can be done at home from cheap materials (~4 digits at most), if you have a few years of free time and heck of a lot of motivation. Therefore, I no longer use this "it costs several million dollars" argument. Whatever it is, you can probably make a barely workable one yourself in your lifetime. I'm not deluded into thinking that I will ever be that motivated, though. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Prithubiswas i think he did several different deposition methods so I wasn't specific. AFAIK, thin-film deposition is one part of semiconductor manufacturing. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ Really interesting questions. To make a laser diode you will be able to grow semiconductor crystals atomic layer at a time, with extreme purity and control over material composition. You would need to build a home made molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) machine. This is a serious undertaking. If you are interested in lasers, you could try with an optically pumped ruby laser or an external cavity laser. But I think the actual epitaxy is out of reach of a home laboratory. But I would be delighted to be proved wrong! $\endgroup$
    – boyfarrell
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


Diode fabrication equipment is going to be at least several hundred thousand USD. Laser diodes can be found for under $10 on Digikey. Prices vary greatly based on wavelength, power, mode quality, etc. but in all cases the diode price is closely related to the cost of the fabrication equipment. Raw materials are a small part of the cost.

It's not sensible to buy of or build diode fabrication equipment unless you are making > 10,000 diodes or have the budget of an medical/military manufacturer.


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