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SPIE Photonics West 2024: New launches part 1

08 Feb 2024

From Teledyne Flir, Zinn Labs, Coherent, and FlexEnable.

The first of our selection of new optical and photonics technologies announced at last week’s SPIE Photonics West exhibition and conferences in San Francisco. Further detailed coverage of the conferences and exhibitions, including BiOS, LASE, OPTO, AR|VR|MR, and the new Quantum West expo is availble in Show Daily, the daily magazine produced by the optics.org team and delivered to all attendees.

Following is a round-up of some of the new optical and photonics technologies announced at last week’s SPIE Photonics West exhibition in San Francisco.

Teledyne Flir, part of Teledyne Technologies, announced the Neutrino LC OGI optical gas imaging camera module, an ITAR-free, mid-wave infrared imager for products designed to detect, measure, and visualize harmful gas emissions.

The Neutrino LC OGI is a small, lightweight, and low-power module for integration into unmanned aerial vehicles, small gimbals, handheld devices, and fixed-mounted gas leak detection systems.

The MWIR spectral band is used to accurately detect the greenhouse gas methane and other hydrocarbons, such as volatile organic compounds. The Neutrino LC OGI offers multiple modes: a 640x512 VGA resolution mode with up to eight times digital zoom to maximize scene awareness; or it can operate in bin mode, which can improve sensitivity to <20 mK to create a crisper, higher-contrast image for pinpointing leaks.

“The detection and mitigation of harmful hydrocarbon and chemical leaks into the air represents a significant priority for regulators and impacted industries,” said Dan Walker, vice president of product management, Teledyne Flir. “The Neutrino LC OGI is the low-risk and high-performing OEM camera module for integrators developing methane monitoring and other gas imaging solutions.”

Zinn Labs launched “the first event-based gaze-tracking system for VR/MR headsets and smart frames”. The core enabling feature of event-based sensing is the faster and more efficient capture of the relevant signals for eye tracking.

Kevin Boyle, CEO of Zinn Labs, explained, “Event-based gaze-tracking reduces bandwidth by two orders of magnitude compared to video-based solutions, allowing it to scale to previously impractical applications and form factors.”

The low compute footprint of Zinn Labs’ 3D gaze estimation gives it the flexibility to support low-power modes for use in smart wearables that look like normal eyewear. In other configurations, the gaze tracker can enable low-latency, slippage-robust tracking at speeds above 120 Hz for high-performance applications.

Zinn Labs’ DK1 Gaze-enabled Eyewear Platform is a development kit equipped with a binocular event-based gaze-tracking system and outward-facing world camera and is powered by Zinn Labs’ 3D gaze estimation algorithms. The DK1 is equipped with Prophesee GenX320 event-based Metavision® sensors, the smallest event-based sensors on the market.

Coherent introduced the ExactWeld 410 laser welding system for medical device manufacturing. The laser welder excels at the most demanding requirements for precision devices.

The system has a small footprint that fits into production lines when floor space is a premium, supports a broad range of application and production needs, and provides traceability of process quality.

“This is an exciting micro-welding system built on the new cost-optimized fiber laser technology, the PowerLine FL, that we introduced in June, 2023,” said Simon Reiser, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Laser Systems & Tools Business Unit.

“The ExactWeld 410 utilizes our latest Laser Framework software that simplifies process validation and increases production efficiency with its intuitive interface to machine vision and process monitoring features.

The system can be equipped with the SmartSense+ that validates, monitors, and records process performance in production. Traceability, which is a requirement for FDA-certified (ISO 13485) manufacturing lines, is achieved by storing process records in the cloud, eliminating manual errors and improving manufacturing efficiency.

Coherent exhibited a range of products and capabilities including:

  • Dot projector module for depth sensing: This module enables customers to design cameras that capture an entire scene at a broad angle and extended depth range even in bright outdoor lighting conditions, all while maintaining low power consumption.
  • VCSEL-based illumination module platform: This platform uses eight 940 nm vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser modules that allow selectively addressable horizontal slices of the field of illumination.
  • OBIS 640 XT red laser module: This module matches the high output power, low noise, beam quality, and compact size of Coherent’s existing portfolio of blue and green laser modules, which as a set enable high-performance super-resolution microscopy (SRM) systems.
  • WaveShaper 1000A, 4000A and 500B: These test and measurement instruments, which can generate arbitrary filter shapes in attenuation and phase, are available over a wider wavelength range extending into the U- and Super C-bands.
  • 532 nm HyperRapid NXT industrial picosecond laser: This laser, with its 100 W average output power, is ideal for ultraprecision manufacturing of thin-film solar cells. Other applications for this laser include structuring of battery foils and dicing of silicon wafers.
  • Infrared wire-grid polarizers: This family of infrared polarizers operate in the MWIR over 3-5 µm and the LWIR over 7-14 µm, for laser-based atmospheric remote sensing applications. They are based on meta-optics wire technology that achieves a contrast ratio of an order of magnitude greater than the highest-performing comparable products in the industry.

FlexEnable, a developer of flexible organic electronics for active optics and displays, launched optical evaluation kits for AR and VR devices. The kits include ambient dimming and tunable lens film modules made using flexible liquid crystal technology.

The thin and light active optics offer improved optical performance to AR/VR applications and allow significantly smaller, lighter and curved devices. These are key factors in achieving the visual and physical comfort necessary for all-day wearability and sustained adoption, said FlexEnable.

Chuck Milligan, CEO, commented, “Advances in AR/VR technologies must simultaneously increase visual comfort and immersion, whilst allowing the devices to become lighter and smaller. Our thin and lightweight optical modules can modulate and focus light, ensuring virtual objects in AR appear solid and with high contrast and allowing users to comfortably focus on virtual objects at different distances.”

The ambient dimmer module features a 50mm diameter aperture that switches in ~10 milliseconds, with a thickness of just 200 µm and a cell mass of less than 1.0 g. It provides global dimming of unpolarised light for AR devices, and when integrated with FlexEnable’s OTFT technology enables pixel-level dimming.

The tunable lens module has a 30mm diameter with a continuously tunable lens power of 0 to 1 dioptres, a cell thickness of 100-200 µm, and a mass of a fraction of a gram. It can actively adjust focus of visible light, bringing perceived and actual image depth together consistently, by compensating for focal differences between the virtual and the real.

ECOPTIKSPECTROGON ABUniverse Kogaku America Inc.LaCroix Precision OpticsHyperion OpticsHÜBNER PhotonicsOptikos Corporation
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