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Fraunhofer Institute spins off company

17 Jun 2002

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute in Jena, Germany, have set up a spin-off company to develop miniature high power diode laser systems based on wide stripe laser diodes. Called Unique Mode, the company claims its lasers will have much larger power and a larger depth of focus compared to conventional diode laser systems.

Unique Mode's novel micro optics changes the wide strip emission of the diodelaser into a virtual stack of line emitters with a reduced width. This results in a square emitter with an enhanced beam quality. The company claims this is the first time that it has been possible to concentrate almost all of the power from the diode laser into a highly collimated symmetrical beam which can be focused into a small spot.

It will offer laser systems with an optical power of 1 W - 10 W in a wavelength range from 808 nm to 1480 nm. Thilo von Freybold, director of R&D, said: "We are currently in the development phase, but aim to have made around 150 systems by the end of next year. Then we plan to scale up and automated the production process."

The company, which is based at the Technology and Innovations Park in Jena and has been set up with an undisclosed amount of venture capital funding, plans to grow quickly, increasing its workforce from 10 to 70 within five years.

"Our laser systems have a variety of applications," said von Freybold. "They can be used to pump fibre lasers, for example, or in the printing industry in computer-to-plate technology. The excellent beam quality of our diode lasers allow us to enter markets which have until now only been open to high-power diode laser systems or solid state lasers. These however are more expensive, much larger and do not offer as much flexibility as our solution."

Story courtesy of Opto and Laser Europe magazine

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