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Patent highlights

26 Nov 2003

The pick of this week’s patent applications including a semiconductor laser for telecom applications.

•  Title: Terahertz ray microscope
Applicant: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, US
International application number: WO 03/095991
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the US is trying to patent a terahertz microscope. The microscope contains a source that emits both an optical pump and probe pulse. The optical pump pulse interacts with a terahertz (THz) emitter, which irradiates the target forming a “target-modified THz pulse”. A THz detector then modulates the optical probe pulse with the THz pulse from the target. A second detector picks up this information, decodes it and produces an image.

•  Title: High power deep ultraviolet laser with long life optics
Applicant: Cymer, US
International application number: WO 03/096497
Producing optics that stand up to the high-peak-power pulses that are emitted by ultraviolet gas discharge laser systems could no longer be a problem, thanks to the idea being patented in application WO 03/096497. The inventors say their optical components can withstand billions of pulses at wavelengths less than 200 nm; average output intensities greater than 1.75x106 W/cm2 and peak intensities greater than 3.5x106 W/cm2. According to the authors, previous components and modules failed after a few minutes of exposure to these pulse intensities.

•  Title: High efficiency solid-state light source and methods of use and manufacture
Applicant: Phoseon Technology, Inc, US
International application number: WO 03/096387
Patent application WO 03/096387 describes a semiconductor light source with a power output density of at least 50 mW/cm2. Made from a densely packed array of LEDs, laser diodes or VCSELs, the inventors link the devices to a substrate via electrically conductive patterns. “An optic element may be placed over the micro-array to achieve improved directionality, intensity and/or spectral purity of the output beam,” say the authors. They add that the source could be used for applications such as photopolymerization, ionization, sterilization and debris removal.

•  Title: Semiconductor laser
Applicant: Bookham Technology plc, UK
International application number: WO 03/096499
Bookham Technology is trying to patent a semiconductor laser specifically designed for optical telecommunication applications. According to the UK firm’s patent application, the laser delivers a high-power beam and an optical mode that has a narrow far-field. This allows the beam to be coupled into small-numerical-aperture optical fibers. Bookham says the laser is made up of a semiconductor heterostructure and one or more optical trap layers.

Jacqueline Hewett is news reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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