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Photonics West: Tuesday (2)

28 Jan 2004

Spectra-Physics has signed a global marketing and distribution deal with UK fiber laser manufacturer SPI.

The deal will see Spectra-Physics distribute SPI’s 50W and 100W continuous wave and modulated sources. Typical application areas for these devices include cutting, printing and rapid prototyping.

Both parties are now looking to reap the rewards of this deal. It adds a crucial technology to Spectra’s product portfolio, according to Guy Broadbent, Spectra’s president, who announced the news on the opening day of this year’s Photonics West exhibition. Stuart Woods, SPI’s director of business development, told Optics.org that the agreement would allow SPI to access a large customer base and give the firm a route into the Asian market.

Spectra-Physics is also exhibiting a number of eye-catching products at Photonics West. Perhaps the one drawing the largest crowds was the Eclipse. This is Spectra’s new high-power femtosecond amplified laser which is based on ytterbium tungstate (Yb:KGW).

Emitting up to 4W at 1048nm, Spectra says this product has some critical advantages over Ti:Sapphire lasers, the most noteworthy being that the Yb:KGW can be directly pumped by laser diodes. The oscillator itself is pumped by two diode lasers while the amplifier is pumped by two diode bars.

The Eclipse is said to operate at repetition rates of up to 7kHz and emit 500 femtosecond pulses. Target applications for this product are said to include materials processing and OPA pumping. The Eclipse also comes with an optional frequency doubler module which delivers an output power of up to 1.5W at 524nm.

And it doesn’t end there. Visitors to the booth can also see the first thin-disk laser produced as a direct result of Spectra’s collaboration with German firm Jenoptik. Called the DisQ-Mark, the laser has been designed to compete with lamp-pumped lasers that are used in industrial applications such as marking. The air-cooled system contains a ¼ inch diameter, 4 mm thick Nd:YAG disk and generates up to 8W at 1064nm at repetition rates up to 50kHz.

Hot on the heels of the DisQ-Mark is a frequency doubled thin-disk laser which will be targeted at forensic applications. Emitting 5W continuous wave at 532 nm, the laser will allow users to find fingerprints and traces of blood by exciting fluorescence signatures.

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

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