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Fraunhofer IOF to present quantum laser at Photonics West

23 Jan 2018

Also: organic nanostructure-based antireflective coatings covering UV to near IR, and 75% lighter AM-created metal mirrors.

Quantum technologies will be one of the major trends in 2018, according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF). The Jena, Germany-based institute will present such a space-borne system at next week's Photonics West exhibition, together with a number of other photonics innovations.

The IOF's pre-event announcement stated, "Among the key trends for the new year there will be quantum technologies with multi-billion programs starting in 2018, based on additive manufacturing or new fiber technologies. We are contributing to all of these trends with a number of new technologies and solutions for research and industry." Following is a selection of highlights from the IOF's exhibit at the Moscone Center:

Organic nanostructures

The ideal antireflection (AR) coating should work over a large bandwidth and, if possible, under many different angles of incidence. If optics are formed in complex shapes, it can be difficult to achieve perfect AR-properties across the whole surface, whether in freeform lenses for automotive and consumer optics or in microoptics, says the IOF.

The IOF developers believe they have come close to achieving optimal performance with their new AR-plas2 technology. It offers low reflectivity from the UV up to the near IR or from 300 to 1,700 nm. This uses a low temperature plasma process and a combination of inorganic layers and organic nanostructures.

A refractive index lower than 1.1 on the outermost surface of the nanostructured coating ensures a low residual reflectance for a broad range of light incidence angles. It can work on large lenses as well as on microoptics or Fresnel lenses. IOF says the technology is well suited for economic large scale processes.

AM metal mirrors weight cut by 75%

Scanner mirrors and space-borne telescope mirrors have one significant factor in common, says IOF: Every gram counts. Conventional manufacturing techniques with back pockets and drilled structures allow for weight reductions of more than 30%. But a dedicated design and an additive manufacturing process enable weight reductions of more than 65%.

The IOF team uses selective laser melting to manufacture metal mirrors. Due to the lightweight design with stochastic or symmetric structures, a mass reduction of up to 75% is achieved. Several materials have been qualified, such as AlSi12, AlSi40, and Al6061. IOF notes that "mirrors of 150 mm size exhibit high stability and stiffness along with surface roughness of <1 nm RMS and form deviation of <150 nm PV after post finishing."

Laser equipment for quantum key distribution

Considering quantum technology, IOF commented, "this will certainly be one of the biggest trend topics at Photonics West 2018. While China has taken the lead in this field, Europe will catch up with a €1 billion flagship project in 2018. At the core of most such projects there is sophisticated laser technology for the preparation and measurement of quantum mechanical properties of photons or atoms."

A new satellite-based source for entangled photons will be presented at the exhibition. Funded by the European Space Agency ESA, a team from IOF has developed ideas from research at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna, Austria, into an engineering qualification model.

Furthermore, they are working on special adaptive optics for ground- and space-based optical terminals. This quantum technology will be part of a new generation of space-based laser systems that will allow faster and more secure communication among satellites and between satellites and ground stations.

Industry panel: Next Generation Fiber Technology

During Photonics West, the IOF team will give more than 20 scientific presentations, workshops and short courses. A main focus will be on new optical fiber technologies. This will also be in the focus of an industry event, where experts from Fraunhofer IOF and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena will share their recent findings on "next generation fiber technologies".

The panel will take place on Tuesday 30 January 2018 · 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm. Speakers will be: Prof. Andreas Tünnermann, Prof. Jens Limpert, Dr. Thomas Schreiber and Dr. Kevin Füchsel. For more information, attendees are invited to visit Fraunhofer IOF on booth number 4529-29.

AlluxaCeNing Optics Co LtdLaCroix Precision OpticsABTechLASEROPTIK GmbHIridian Spectral TechnologiesUniverse Kogaku America Inc.
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