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LASER 2022: Start-up World presents a taste of the future

27 Apr 2022

Five first-time exhibitors at Munich span the spectrum of photonics technologies.

by Matthew Peach in Munich

Start-up World is a pavilion in Hall B5 (booth 334) at LASER World of Photonics, which is worth a visit to discover a variety of new firms and first time exhibitors working across the spectrum of laser and photonics technologies.

The companies come from around Europe and are at different stages of development – some with established products and markets, and others that are just poised to go commercial from development mode.

Dotphoton is a technology company that provides image data compression solutions such as Jetraw, which enable efficiency and reliability of large image data processing in critical applications.

The Zug, Switzerland-based firm, which has been trading for about three years, has developed a new approach to image compression combining the flexibility of lossy formats and the reliability and quality of lossless formats. This offers advantages for AI-based image processing and large data management, for sectors such as biomedical imaging, space and automotive sectors.

Spokesman Michael Desert said, “What is clever about our approach is that it takes into account different cameras’ calibrations to maximize performance.”

Desert added that Dotphoton is working with most of the main camera manufacturers and that its reputation had been established following its involvement with a European Space Agency project on Efficient Information Preserving Image Compression for Space Applications.

Next door, Körner Lasertechnologie is start-up company founded by CEO Jörg Körner in 2019, in Sangerhausen, a small town in the center of Germany near the Harz Mountains, which, incidentally, provided the company with its “laser-mountain” logo.

He told optics.org, “Our mission is to provide innovative technologies in the field of diode pumped solid state laser technology, be it measurement tools, laser systems or specifically designed optical systems for high power laser beams.

“Our current range of products also includes a nearly-wavelength independent beam profiler, the KLT-UBP.”

Körner Lasertechnologie has been active in the market for about 18 months and already sold several beam profilers. In planning are new types of spectrometer and camera, focused on the research and industrial sectors.

Midel Photonics is a spin-off from the University of Bonn and set to start trading in mid-2022. CEO Dr. David Dung said, “Our patent-pending manufacturing process for a new type of laser beam profilers has already proven successful in basic research on quantum technologies. Now we are preparing the technology for industrial use.

“We have already talked to more than 20 industrial manufacturers, who seem very excited about what Midel can do. Beam shaping is becoming more important in manufacturing for sectors such as e-mobility and in semiconductor production.”

Midel – which is named after its novel production technique “micro-delamination” – develops beam shaping optics for use with high-power and ultrashort pulse lasers in manufacturing. Laser illumination creates a structured surface on a mirror blank with a highly reflective coating: the result is a continuous diffractive optical element, which shapes and reflects an incoming beam.

Financial Lead Frederik Wolf explained, “micro-delamination is a one-step process that does not require a clean room, unlike lithographic processes that are conventionally used to produce beam shapers. A beam shape adapted to the manufacturing step increases the efficiency of existing processes and paves the way for new technologies.”

Phaseform describes itself as a deep-tech spin-off from the Laboratory for Micro-optics from the Department of Microsystems Engineering of the University of Freiburg, Germany.

CEO and founder Dr. Stefan Weber explained that its technology is a programable electronically-deformable phase plate that may be applied to any vision system – a new kind of advanced adaptive optics system.

”The optic consists of a deformable glass and polymer, 10mm-diameter substrate that is controlled by electrostatic actuation,” he explained. Phaseform aspires to become “a leading adaptive optics (AO) technology company with a clear vision of continuous innovation – in a new era of adaptive optics”.

Dr. Weber envisages that his technology will find applications in a range of AO markets from ophthalmology to astronomy. He is showing a prototype stem on the Start-up World booth .

Sphere Ultrafast Photonics, is based in Porto, Portugal, a spin-off from the universities of Porto and Lund (Sweden). The seven-year-old company is led by CEO Dr. Rosa Romero and its tagline is “Measure and compress your ultrafast laser”.

She said, “Sphere has developed the techniques to measure the shortest laser pulses – down to just 2 femtoseconds. Our target markets are the scientific and microscopy sectors. The key applications of our range of systems are characterizing lasers and pulses to optimize and improve lab experiments.”

Sphere offers a range of systems:

  • The d-shot is a compact system for ultrafast laser pulses single shot measurement with spectrum supporting 10-50 fs and at repetition rates ranging from sub-Hz to hundreds of kHz or MHz.
  • The d-scan is an inline, compact device for the simultaneous measurement and compression of ultrafast pulses. d-scan can be used either as a standalone system or integrated with existing optical pulse compressors. It handles broadband oscillators, amplifiers, OPAs and hollow-fiber compressors.
  • The d-cycle measures ultrafast pulses, down to ultra-broadband spectra and single-cycle durations – “the shortest for any commercially available device,” explained Dr. Romero.

Seeking a US distributor

“We sell worldwide and have distribution partners in most regions, but we are currently seeking a US distributor with the knowledge and capabilities to market such devices,” she added.

SPECTROGON ABHÜBNER PhotonicsAlluxaMad City Labs, Inc.CeNing Optics Co LtdIridian Spectral TechnologiesBerkeley Nucleonics Corporation
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