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German team to workshop high-energy mid-IR laser development

27 Aug 2018

Meeting in October will discuss path to commercial Joule-scale pulsed 1.9 µm sources, and potential applications.

A team of SMEs and academic partners in Germany are working together on the development of high-pulse-energy mid-infrared lasers, with a view to future applications in numerous commercial applications.

Led by technical experts at the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut in Berlin (FBH) and Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the seven partners involved in the “HECMIR” project will host a workshop in October to discuss their future plans.

Joule-class pulses
Running since April, the €1.5 million, three-year project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and co-ordinated by the Berlin-Brandenburg Competence Network for Optical Technologies (OpTecBB).

As well as the Friedrich Schiller and FBH partners, the effort involves two SMEs in the form of Lastronics in Jena and Crystal GmbH from Berlin. Associated participants include the Leibniz Institute for Crystal Growth (IKZ), Brilliance Fab Berlin GmbH and Jenoptik Diode Lab GmbH.

Representatives from each of those partners will attend the workshop event October 17, as part of the wider “photonics days” event taking place in the Brandenburg region of Berlin. It follows a kick-off meeting for the project that took place in May.

Their goal is to develop the world's first pulsed, Joule-class laser light source for the mid-infrared spectral range. Scheduled talks at the workshop event will include FBH’s Paul Crump, Martin Möhrle from the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, and Jörg Neuken from Coherent’s “DILAS” division discussing the merits of various different diode pump sources needed for such a laser.

Other speakers lined up for the event will focus on potential applications of high-energy pulsed mid-IR lasers in medicine and industry. They include Svenja Hübner from medical laser firm Asclepion Laser Technologies, also based in Jena but part of the El.En group that is headquartered in Italy.

Innovative processes
Further applications for lasers emitting in the mid-infrared (defined for the purposes of the project as 1.7-5.0 µm) could range from materials processing in semiconductor device and solar cell manufacturing, to uses in defense, and even as X-ray sources or laser-driven particle acceleration in the scientific research sector.

“Such mid-IR sources have the potential to replace many current lasers operating in the 1 µm wavelength range,” suggest the project organizers. “Of particular interest are sources that deliver high energy mid-IR pulses, as these are not currently commercially available. We therefore present here a workshop focusing on status of efforts towards developing these important sources, detailing [the] latest progress in the key system components.”

Frank Lerch, co-ordinator of HECMIR and managing director of the OpTecBB competence network, added: “This will result in innovative processes, products and services that open up new market potential, especially for the SMEs involved.”

• The HECMIR workshop "High-energy class mid-infrared lasers" will take place on October 17, 2018 as part of Photonik-Tage Berlin Brandenburg. The workshop deals with state-of-the-art and technological approaches for developing such high-power laser sources. Paul Crump and Joachim Hein from Schiller University Jena will chair the full-day workshop. For further details and the presentation schedule, download the agenda here (.pdf file).

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