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After Groundhog Day, the first femtos are bursting out

10 Feb 2016

Punxsutawney Phil said spring would be early and femtosecond laser makers have not disappointed.

As the industry counts down to the opening of this year’s BiOS / Photonics West conference and expo in San Francisco (between February 13-18), several manufacturers have pre-announced their latest high power femtosecond lasers, setting an early trend in the product-launching season.

Amplitude Systèmes, which will be exhibiting at both BiOS and Photonics West exhibitions next week , will be showing off its new Tangor, which is claimed to be “the world's first industrial 100W femtosecond laser”.

The latest in the Bordeaux, France-based company’s orange colored and fruit-themed lasers (previous models have been named Tangerine and Satsuma), the Tangor is said to offer "exceptional flexibility, high repetition rates and high pulse energies." This platform is designed to meet industrial requirements including 24/7 operation, high yield and ultra precision manufacturing. The Tangor offers the shortest pulse duration in its class giving rise to superior processing quality.

Amplitude Systèmes executives will also present a range of 20-minute talks as part of the SPIE LASE program, with the following themes/times: High power and high energy femtosecond lasers based on hybrid architectures (Monday February 15, 11:20AM,); Ultrafast laser drilling of injector nozzles (Monday February 15, 4:10PM); and Engineering model for ultrafast laser microprocessing (Tuesday February 16, 8:30AM); High energy pulsewidth tunable CPA free picosecond source (Tuesday February 16, 8:40AM); 10µj, ultrashort sub-100 fs FCPA synthesizer (Thursday February 18 8:40AM).

FS power doubled

Spectra-Physics will introduce its Spirit One 1040-8, which is a compact, industrial femtosecond laser, offering what the company is calling “game-changing cost-performance.”

Combining both power supply and laser head in a single rugged and compact package, the Spirit One 1040-8 is easy to integrate into machine tools and systems and can deliver stability and long term reliability, the company states. The new laser is suited demanding, high precision applications including microsurgery, femtosecond micromachining, and medical device manufacturing.

Spirit One 1040-8 provides 8W average power and >40 µJ pulse energy at 1040 nm with repetition rates up to 1 MHz. A second harmonic generation option is available for software selectable 520 nm or 1040 nm output. Spirit One 1040-8 offers process flexibility with an adjustable pulse duration option, allowing the user to freely chose pulse durations from <400 fs to 4 ps by software in seconds. A picosecond model, Spirit One ps 1040-10, is also available with 13 ps pulse width, >10 W output power, and >50 µJ pulse energy.

Klaus Madlener, general manager of Spectra-Physics Rankweil, commented, “With an unprecedented combination of femtosecond performance, cost, size, and reliability, Spirit One 1040-8 will transform the market for femtosecond medical and industrial laser applications. The new laser is another major addition to our successful, market-leading portfolio of industrial femtosecond lasers.”

Jenoptik’s innovation

Not to be outdone, Jenoptik is announcing the successful transfer of a new and challenging application into industrial production, following its extensive experience of working with femtosecond lasers. In its Photonics West-focused announcement, the company says, “Femtosecond pulses can now be used for scribing invisible pre-determined break lines that enable precise break loads in genuine leather with a natural inhomogeneous thickness between 1 and 2 mm”.

The scribing process employs the powerful femtosecond lasers from Jenoptik’s JenLas femto series and prevents heat-induced swelling or other thermal damage of the leather. This is impossible to achieve with any longer pulsed lasers. Compared to conventional methods, such as mechanical knife scribing, the new manufacturing method enables much faster and more precise processing. All leather types and colors can be scribed with nearly the same process parameters.

Jenoptik says this technological solution is particularly interesting for automotive applications, such as processing airbag cover material or premium quality consumer goods. Accelerated lifetime tests, carried out by automotive customers showed that the break lines, scribed via Jenoptik’s femtosecond laser process, remain invisible over the car lifetime under all environmental conditions.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

Photon Engineering, LLCKnight Optical LtdKentek CorporationBristol Instruments, Inc.Nanoscribe GmbHSPECTROGON ABDataRay Inc.
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