Photonics/Optics

Femtosecond Laser

Spectra-Physics (Santa Clara, CA) has introduced Spirit™ 8 W, an industrial-grade high power femtosecond (fs) laser for micromachining applications. The Spirit ultrafast laser provides high average power of >8 W in the infrared at 1040 nm with a second harmonic option for generating green femtosecond pulses. The laser delivers ultrashort 400 fs pulse widths with high pulse energies of >40 μJ and is adjustable via computer over a wide range of repetition rates from single shot up to 1 MHz. The highly reliable Spirit is fully automated and has excellent beam characteristics with diffraction-limited TEMoo mode.

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Laser Light Source Controller

Energetiq Technology (Woburn, MA) has introduced. New smart controller for its laser-driven light sources. Developed for the EQ-99 series of Laser-Driven Light Sources (LDLS™), the EQ-99 Manager enhances functionality by adding a USB interface and an advanced shutter control system for greater integration and advanced control. The EQ-99 Manager’s advanced shutter control system offers a range of shutter speeds and operation modes. The smart controller is optimized to drive Energetiq’s new EQ-99 Shutter, which may be integrated to the window of the EQ- 99 light source, or mounted to an optical bench.

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High Power Optical Fibers

Universal Clad (UniClad) optical fiber from Fiberguide (Stirling, NJ) is designed for integration into fiber based lasers and OEM systems performing high power transmission. The fiber uses a large core-to-clad ratio to reduce stress transfer to its core, maintaining laser beam quality and improving focal ratio degradation in lasers used for cutting, welding, drilling, soldering and marking. UniClad fiber has a pure fused silica core and doped fused silica cladding with a polymer coating. The fiber has a fixed 500μm cladding diameter for 100-400μm core sizes, and proportionately larger cladding for 600-800μm core sizes, to make laser alignment and splicing easier.

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Dual-Band Raman Analyzer

The Agility™ is the world’s first transportable Raman Analyzer to offer a dual-band option. The Agility™ Series employ a highly efficient Volume Phase Grating (VPG®) as the spectral dispersion element, customizable to any wavelength range, and an optimally cooled scientific grade detector array (532/785nm CCD or 1064nm InGaAs) as the detection element. Choices of auto-aligned sampling accessories are available: vial holder, pill holder, direct focus and fiber optic. A simplified user interface allows for basic users to easily verify sample ID, automate background subtraction and baseline correction, set integration times, and configure user libraries.

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Deep Cooled Vacuum-Based 6mp CCD

Raptor Photonics (Larne, Northern Ireland) has launched the Kingfisher V, a deep cooled vacuum-based CCD using Raptor’s new vacuum technology called PentaVac™. The Kingfisher V has 4.54m × 4.54m pixels enabling ultra-sharp image resolution and QE of up to 77%. The extremely low dark current of 0.000001 e/p/s is achieved by deep cooling, either by water or air. Cooling to Δ-111°C will enable long exposure times and readout noise of less than 1.5 electrons. The Kingfisher V is a 16 bit Interline Frame Transfer CCD with both monochrome and color options. The PentaVac™ vacuum has a lifetime warranty.

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UV Resonant Raman Spectrometer With Multi-Line Laser Excitation

A Raman spectrometer employs two or more UV (ultraviolet) laser wavelengths to generate UV resonant Raman (UVRR) spectra in organic samples. Resonant Raman scattering results when the laser excitation is near an electronic transition of a molecule, and the enhancement of Raman signals can be several orders of magnitude. In addition, the Raman cross-section is inversely proportional to the fourth power of the wavelength, so the UV Raman emission is increased by another factor of 16, or greater, over visible Raman emissions. The Raman-scattered light is collected using a high-resolution broadband spectrograph. Further suppression of the Rayleigh-scattered laser light is provided by custom UV notch filters.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Lasers, Emissions, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Towed Subsurface Optical Communications Buoy

The innovation allows critical, high-bandwidth submarine communications at speed and depth. This reported innovation is a subsurface optical communications buoy, with active neutral buoyancy and streamlined flow surface veins for depth control. This novel subsurface positioning for the towed communications buoy enables substantial reduction in waterabsorption and increased optical transmission by eliminating the intervening water absorption and dispersion, as well as by reducing or eliminating the beam spread and the pulse spreading that is associated with submarine-launched optical beams.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Optics, Telecommunications systems, Marine vehicles and equipment
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Ultra-Compact, Superconducting Spectrometer-on-a-Chip at Submillimeter Wavelengths

These spectrometer modules can be used for future astrophysics missions that require compact cryogenic spectrometers.

Small size, wide spectral bandwidth, and highly multiplexed detector readout are required to develop powerful multi-beam spectrometers for high-redshift observations. Currently available spectrometers at these frequencies are large and bulky. The grating sizes for these spectrometers are prohibitive. This fundamental size issue is a key limitation for space-based spectrometers for astrophysics applications.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Physical Sciences, Downsizing, Spectroscopy
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Rad-Tolerant, Thermally Stable, High-Speed Fiber-Optic Network for Harsh Environments

Future NASA destinations will be challenging to get to, have extreme environmental conditions, and may present difficulty in retrieving a spacecraft or its data. Space Photonics is developing a radiationtolerant (rad-tolerant), high-speed, multichannel fiber-optic transceiver, associated reconfigurable intelligent node communications architecture, and supporting hardware for intravehicular and groundbased optical networking applications. Data rates approaching 3.2 Gbps per channel will be achieved.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Physical Sciences, Architecture, Data exchange, Fiber optics, Telecommunications, Radiation
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High-Collection-Efficiency Fluorescence Detection Cell

A relatively compact and economical unit is used for the detection of formaldehyde.

A new fluorescence cell has been developed for the laser induced fluorescence (LIF) detection of formaldehyde. The cell is used to sample a flow of air that contains trace concentrations of formaldehyde. The cell provides a hermetically sealed volume in which a flow of air containing formaldehyde can be illuminated by a laser. The cell includes the optics for transmitting the laser beam that is used to excite the formaldehyde and for collecting the resulting fluorescence. The novelty of the cell is its small size and simple design that provides a more robust and cheaper alternative to the state of the art. Despite its simplicity, the cell provides the same sensitivity to detection as larger, more complicated cells.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Physical Sciences, Lasers, Air pollution, Durability, Test equipment and instrumentation
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