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Toronto research finds 21 new sources for organic solid-state lasers...

20 May 2024

...while Toptica launches FemtoFiber ultra series for multi-photon microscopy, and lithography.

Organic solid-state lasers (OSLs) promise a wide range of applications due to their flexibility, tunability, and efficiency. However, they are difficult to make, and with over 150,000 possible experiments required to conduct to find successful new materials, discovering them all would be the work of several lifetimes. In fact, in the previous few decades, only 10–20 new OSL materials have been tested, according to the University of Toronto, Canada.

Now, researchers with the Acceleration Consortium based at the university, took up this challenge and have used “self-driving lab technology (SDL), which, once set up, enabled them to synthesize and test over 1,000 potential OSL materials and discover at least 21 OSL gain candidates in a matter of months.

An SDL uses artificial intelligence and robotic synthesis to streamline the process of identifying novel materials — in this case, materials with exceptional lasing properties. Up until now, SDLs have usually been confined to one physical lab in one geographic location, said the Toronto team.

The work is described in a paper in Science, entitled Delocalized Asynchronous Closed-Loop Discovery of Organic Laser Emitters. For this research, labs from Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, Glasgow in Scotland, Illinois in the U.S., and Fukuoka in Japan were involved.

Each lab was able to contribute its expertise and resources. This decentralized workflow, managed by a cloud-based platform, not only enhanced efficiency but also allowed for the rapid replication of experimental findings, ultimately democratizing the discovery process, and accelerating the development of next-generation laser technology.

“What the paper shows is that a closed-loop approach can be delocalized, researchers can go all the way down from the molecular state down to devices and you can accelerate the discovery of materials that are early in the process of commercialization,” said Dr. Alán Aspuru-Guzik, director of the Acceleration Consortium.

“The team designed an experiment that went all the way down from molecule to device – with the final devices being made in Japan. They were scaled up in Vancouver and then transferred to Japan for characterization,” he said.

The discovery of these novel materials represents a significant advancement in the field of molecular optoelectronics. It has paved the way for enhanced performance and functionality in OSL devices and set a precedent for future delocalized discovery campaigns in the field of materials science and self-driving labs.

Toptica launches FemtoFiber ultra series of lasers

Laser developer Toptica has introduced the FemtoFiber ultra series, the company’s “next generation of femtosecond fiber lasers”, designed specifically for multi-photon microscopy, two-photon lithography and semiconductor inspection.

Leveraging over two decades of experience in developing OEM-class fiber lasers, Toptica has created a turnkey, fully integrated and optimized laser system that delivers superior performance and reliability for the most demanding scientific and industrial applications in biotech and semicon industry.

The FemtoFiber ultra series offers unparalleled precision and consistency, delivering high average power, exceptional temporal and spatial beam quality, and femtosecond pulses in a compact, rugged package.

Designed to withstand the rigors of advanced imaging and microfabrication, this industrial-grade light engine is ideal for high-end applications. Its seamless operation and low cost of ownership make it a versatile solution that enables researchers and manufacturers to explore new frontiers in multiphoton microscopy and semiconductor inspection.

Luisa Hofmann, Product Manager Biophotonics & Materials at Toptica, commented, “We designed these lasers to meet the evolving needs of our customers, providing them with powerful tools that deliver consistent results while minimizing downtime and costs, available with outputs at 780, 920, and 1050 nm.”

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