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PyroFlex offers tailored laser pulses

29 Jun 2007

A new laser platform shapes laser pulse parameters to exact specifications.

PyroFlex, a new laser platform introduced by start-up PyroPhotonics, allows users to independently control key pulse parameters such as pulse width, repetition rate and amplitude. The platform combines a fiber laser with a software-based process to control the precise pulse shape down to a resolution of 1 ns, and can if desired create double or triple pulses, or other unusual configurations.

"The process is capable of producing pulse parameters that could not be achieved with conventional technologies," Al Eggleston of PyroPhotonics explained to optics.org. "We believe our technology will be highly disruptive in the material processing world and in the industrial laser industry in general."

"It's not aimed at any one application, but rather is adaptable to numerous end-uses requiring controlled pulse delivery," he continued. "Our customers are developing applications in semi-conductor processing, drilling, solar cell manufacture, diamond processing and many others."

The company has not disclosed details of its technology, but claims that wavelengths in the 1064 nm, 532 nm and 355 nm windows can be delivered by PyroFlex. The system is based on a common platform and the same core assembly can be used in multiple configurations of wavelength and power, which could increase the flexibility available to users.

"In some scenarios, PyroFlex can allow two dissimilar laser-based processes to be integrated into one workstation," said Eggleston. "For example, the marking and scribing of semiconductor wafers could be carried out by the same installation, with the laser parameters being adapted in-situ to suit each process."

Alternatively, in applications requiring the same laser operation to be applied to different types of material, the pulse characteristics could be modified to suit each one without the need for a separate laser or workstation.

"Both of these scenarios could provide significant savings in floor space and throughput," Eggleston said. "Even for users who still require many dissimilar laser-based workstations, PyroFlex could reduce both their inventory costs and capital tied up in spare parts. For all users, application development cycle times could be cut drastically."

Further development of the PyroFlex process will focus on products delivering increased peak power, pulse energy and average power, along with picosecond pulse capabilities. "The limits of our control are largely driven by our hardware constraints," said Eggleston. "Each product has defined operating parameters for peak power, pulse energy and average power. As long as the user stays within these boundaries, there really are no limits."

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