Features

Middleware Bridges the Optical/Mechanical Design Gap

Mechanical CAD (computer-aided design) programs have become very sophisticated during the past few years. Unfortunately, there is still a portion of the engineering spectrum that cannot be handled well in a traditional CAD program: optical modeling. If you are creating a complicated optical system (think of a camera zoom lens), then it is best to perform almost all of the design in a specialized optical design software program and then transfer the optical design to a CAD program for the later stages of the design process where items like housings, threads, cams, and motors are designed and integrated into the model.

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Photonics Tech Briefs Presents 2005 Products of the Year

Photonics Tech Briefs (PTB) recently presented the 2005 Readers’ Choice Products of the Year at a special awards dinner held at The Water Club in New York City. The top three products chosen by the readers of PTB were honored at the event.

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Product of the Month: Diode Pumped Solid-State Laser System

The MirusTM diode pumped solid-state laser system from Northrop Grumman Space Cutting Edge Optronics (St. Charles, MO) is available with 450 watts of output power. It features an RS 232/485 interface, an electronic shutter, linear PI curve, and an internal flow switch in the laser head. It has been environmentally tested to operate at a temperature range of 15° to 35° C and can be stored at a temperature range of -20°C to 60°C. Its filtered water-cooling system means there is no need for deionization. The Mirus laser is suitable for industrial and manufacturing applications including marking, micromachining and welding, percussion drilling, cutting, scribing, and ablation.

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Compact Laser Diode Modules

Photonic Products (Huntington Beach, CA) has launched 8-mm-diameter laser diode modules for use in prepress plate alignment and laser alignment for label and wrapper cutting machinery, and medical applications such as patient positioning. The modules consist of a brass housing, laser diode, drive circuit, and adjustable collimating or focusing lens. The lens may be adjusted to produce either a collimated beam or focused spot. Electrical connections are made via external flying leads.

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Silicon Avalanche Photodiodes

The SAR500x silicon avalanche photodiodes (Si-APD) from Laser Components (Hudson, NH) feature a 500-μm detector chip with a “reach-through” structure. This structure is responsible for sensitivity in the spectral range of 400 nm to 1,100 nm and, simultaneously, for rise and fall times typically of 450 ps. It is suitable for laser range finding and optical communication, with data transfer rates of up to 1 Gbit/s. It can detect a small amount of light and is suitable for low-noise and low dark current applications, typically 200 pA@M = 100. The SAR500x is available in a hermetically sealed TO-18 can. The SARP500 version can be delivered in a TO-18 can with a thermoelectric cooler in a TO-37 can. It is additionally suitable for use in spectroscopy, fluorescence measurements, medical technology, and LIDAR applications.

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Laser Beam Expanders

Optical Surfaces Ltd. (Surrey, UK) offers laser beam expanders for high-power laser and Doppler shift LIDAR applications. Manufactured to better than lambda/10 surface accuracy, the off-axis design of the beam expanders produces no central obscuration. Alignment aids are supplied with each beam expander to ensure correct beam pointing. The all-reflecting design is achromatic and, with aluminum coatings, can operate from the UV to far IR without adjustment. The beam expanders are housed in a box assembly that provides for fixing to an optical table, and enables transportation to different sites without the need for internal realignment. Options include ultra-hard dielectric, protected silver, and gold laser coatings. Standard models include exit apertures of 100 mm, 150 mm, and 200 mm, with up to 20x magnification systems.

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Interferogram Analysis Software

IntelliWave 5.0 interferometry analysis software from Engineering Synthesis Design (Tucson, AZ) features a new scientific programming language. The automation/client server architecture allows bidirectional communication and data transfer between other programs for industrial systems automation. Wizards provide factory floor quality control measurements of flats, lenses, mirrors, prisms, and corner cubes. A graphics engine enables users to create and present reports. IntelliWave 5.0 can be used with virtually any interferometer.

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