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LASER 2017 product preview part 4: fiber lasers

20 Jun 2017

The long term trend of the industry developing ever more fiber lasers in different designs and powers continues at this year's show.

One week to go until LASER World of Photonics opens its doors in Munich, so here’s our fourth round-up of the latest product announcements and development news from trade show exhibitors. In this instance we preview a selection of new fiber lasers and associated technologies from a variety of sources.

Fujikura Europe showcasing long lifetime products

Fujikura Europe will exhibit its latest laser technology, including its new Single Mode CW fiber laser, supplied with a high-powered air-cooled system of 500W, high stability and “super long” lifetime.

“With stable machining performance unaffected by the laser back reflection, and unique laser beam enabling vertical irradiation, the CW Fiber Laser is perfect for various applications and environments,” said Simon Richardson, Head of Optics, Europe. “The air cooling functionality is important to ensure the removal of excess heat at rates of less than 500W, and improve reliability.”

Also on display will be Fujikura’s LZM series, part of the ARCMaster fusion splicers, which have been developed to provide flexibility for diverse markets. “The LAZERMaster LZM-100 features a CO2 laser which provides an extremely stable operation, manually or by PC,” said Neil Bessant, Fusion Splicer Divisional Manager.

Ekspla FemtoLux 3 fiber laser

Ekspla’s FemtoLux 3 is a modern industrial femtosecond laser designed for micromachining, engraving and ophthalmologic surgery applications. Laser delivers up to 3W of average power and up to 2µJ femtosecond pulse energy.

The FemtoLux 3 is a flexible platform, which allows the optimization of output parameters to match the application. Repetition rate as well as output power can be changed easily with an integrated pulse picker. With “burst mode” enabled FemtoLux 3 can generate bursts of pulses with energy above 10µJ with burst shape pre-programmed or controlled in real time. Pulse duration can also be programmed up to 5 ps.

Applications of the laser are in marking and structuring, micromachining, ophthalmologic surgery, photopolymerization, biological Imaging, and pumping of femtosecond OPO/OPAs.

Amplitude Laser Group

Visitors to Munich are invited to visit Amplitude Laser Group (based in Bordeaux, France) on booth B2.319. On show will be a selection of new products and demonstrations including femtosecond processing with fiber delivery and the first live demonstration of the Satsuma laser equipped with Amplitude’s Fiber and Scan modules, integrated with a Staubli robot.

Also on the booth will be the Yuja Multi, said to be the first multi-spot femtosecond laser, which allows users to dynamically split the single beam of Yuja laser into multiple beams or change a standard round beam into any shape desired.

Amplitude added that one of its scientific highlights will be its 2PW sub-17fs laser for ELI ALPS; “Dedicated to attosecond science, visitors can discover our novel hybrid Ti:Sapphire / OPCPA architecture reaching bleeding-edge performances,” the company stated.

Besides this there will also be the Magma, a 300mJ diode pumped ultrafast laser, claimed to be the first industrial-grade high energy ultrafast laser. This system offers high energy, high repetition rate and high peak power in a robust package designed for 24/7 operation.

Coherent 10 kW HighLight fiber laser

A new 10 kW fiber laser from Coherent debuts at LASER 2017 as a part of the HighLight product family. These are high-power fiber, direct diode and fiber-coupled diode designed for industrial materials processing applications.

The HighLight FL10000 combines the output of four individual 2.5 kW laser modules into a single output fiber, reaching 10 kW total output. Detachable output fiber diameters for the 10 kW laser range from 150 µm (BPP ≤4.5 mm x mrad) to 1mm. Operation is CW or pulsed, at repetition rates up to 5 kHz.

These output characteristics make the FL10000 suitable for metal sheet and tube processing in machine tool, automotive, energy and other heavy industrial applications. At the full system level, the FL-Series features the option of up to four separate fiber outputs, thus enabling time or energy sharing, and simplifying integration into machining workstations and robotic systems.

Diamond lenses for laser optics

Synthetic diamonds are attractive as a material for laser optics: thanks to their high refractive index and excellent heat conduction, laser optics made with them are ten times lighter than conventional laser optics: fiber lasers in the kilowatt power range could, thus, operate with greater flexibility.

Three Fraunhofer institutes have optimized the production and processing of diamonds and now the first cutting system with diamond lenses is being tested.

To date, polycrystalline diamond substrates have only been used as windows for CO2 lasers. Due to impurities and imperfections, they absorb and scatter laser radiation at emission wavelengths about 1µm, making them unsuitable for fiber lasers. Although single crystal diamonds do not have this problem, they are more difficult to manufacture.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF) in Freiburg< Germany, has long been researching the production of monocrystalline diamonds. The CVD reactors developed at the IAF have stable plasma conditions and make substrates of up to several millimeters thick possible. A maximum of 60 diamonds can be produced simultaneously. At build rates of up to 30µm per hour, the reactors can produce optics with an aperture of approximately 10 mm.

Martin Traub from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) in Aachen, Germany, said, “We have optimized a complete laser optical system for the diamond lenses for the first time. Thanks to this, the cutting head is more than 90 percent lighter. The lenses with 7 mm diameter had previously passed tests with 2 kW laser power without problems.”

Now, the partners have built a system for cutting tests with a 1 kW fiber laser. Integrated in the cutting head are water cooling and the shielding gas supply. Process monitoring has not yet been planned. First tests are currently being carried out with the compact cutting head. The new optical system, which should significantly increase the flexibility in laser cutting, will be presented at LASER on the joint Fraunhofer stand A2.431.

InfraTec GmbHart Photonics GmbHPhoton Engineering, LLCSchaefter und Kirchhoff GmbHBRD Optical Co., LtdDiffraction InternationalSpectrum Scientific Inc. -  SSI Optics
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