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Patent highlights

26 Nov 2004

The pick of this week's applications including a scanning laser microscope which includes a wavefront sensor.

•  Title: Scanning laser microscope with wavefront sensor
Applicant: 3M Innovative Properties Company, US
International application number: WO 2004/102248
Scientists at 3M have devised a way to enhance the resolution of images produced by a scanning laser microscope. As well as a traditional illumination arm, the 3M microscope has a Hartmann-Shack wavefront sensor which senses phase variations of light from a region of interest in the sample. "From the wavefront shapes, a high frequency spectrum corresponding to uncollected scattered light can be derived," explain the authors. "This scattered light is produced by small-scale features of the scanned pixel location and an enhanced resolution image of the region can be produced."

•  Title: Method and apparatus using a tunable diode laser spectrometer for analysis of hydrocarbon samples
Applicant: Baker Hughes Incorporated, US
International application number: WO 2004/102169
A US firm has applied to patent an ultrahigh-resolution spectroscopy system which operates down oil wells. The system uses a tunable diode laser (TDL) and performs either absorption spectroscopy or Raman spectroscopy by sweeping the emission wavelength of the TDL and detecting the scattered light. According to the authors, the invention is useful for analysis of gases, fluids and isotopes flowing in distribution pipelines. "The invention can make high-resolution measurements of the percentage of aromatics, olefins and saturates in crude oil as well as estimate carbon dioxide in methane gas or carbon dioxide dissolved in crude oil," say the authors.

•  Title: Static method for laser speckle reduction and apparatus for reducing speckle
Applicant: StockerYale Canada, Inc, Canada
International application number: WO 2004/102258
Patent application WO 2004/102258 discusses how to generate a low-speckle laser beam by increasing the number of polarization states in the beam. Although several versions are discussed within the application, one setup involves launching a laser beam into an optical fiber using a special combination of collimating optics. "The optical elements for increasing the number of polarization states comprise fiber optic couplers with appropriate optical feedback," say the applicants. Lenses are then used to collimate the output from the fiber. The inventors believe that one advantage of their approach is that the speckle is reduced instantly and without the need for time averaging.

HÜBNER PhotonicsCeNing Optics Co LtdAlluxaSPECTROGON ABIridian Spectral TechnologiesHyperion OpticsTRIOPTICS GmbH
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