New products abound at upbeat CLEO 95

Baltimore, MD--At the close of the three-day product exhibition, several hundred more visitors than last year had attended this year`s Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO `95), according to the Optical Society of America (OSA, Washington, DC), which organized the exhibition. The mood at CLEO was optimistic, reflecting the generally upbeat business climate, and most exhibitors felt their attendance had been worthwhile--many reporting a substantial increase in leads taken at the booth.

New products abound at upbeat CLEO `95

Stephen G. Anderson

Baltimore, MD--At the close of the three-day product exhibition, several hundred more visitors than last year had attended this year`s Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO `95), according to the Optical Society of America (OSA, Washington, DC), which organized the exhibition. The mood at CLEO was optimistic, reflecting the generally upbeat business climate, and most exhibitors felt their attendance had been worthwhile--many reporting a substantial increase in leads taken at the booth.

On the exhibit floor, solid-state green lasers were much in evidence and ranged from high-power devices such as the 25-W, 10-kH¥Nd:YAG laser from Lee Laser (Orlando, FL) and the 20-W CW Nd:YAG laser intended for display and entertainment applications from first-time exhibitor SLS Laser Systems (Pennsauken, NJ) to much smaller lasers, including the diode-pumped 100-mW CW model DPY 315M Nd:YAG device from ADLAS (Stow, MA)--intended for the reprographics market--and a single-mode version of the µGreen neodymium-doped vanadate laser from Uniphase Lasers (San Jose, CA).

Several products using new "direct-coupled pump" technology were introduced by Lightwave Electronics (Mountain View, CA), including a single-frequency, 200-mW compact CW green laser, reportedly ideal for interferometry, holography, and nondestructive testing applications. Light Solutions (Acton, MA) showed a 20-W diode-pumped CW Nd:YAG laser, which the company says is priced at $1000 per watt of IR output; a frequency-doubled system has 3 W of Q-switched green output.

At shorter wavelengths, both Uniphase and SDL (San Jose, CA) showed solid-state blue-output devices. A waveguide device from SDL produced about 2 mW at 430 nm, while two lasers on the Uniphase booth provided blue light--one based on its microchi¥technology produced output at 473 nm and the other based on direct doubling of a 980-nm diode using a waveguide provided output at 490 nm. These devices are intended ultimately as sources for optical data-storage systems, reprographics, and biotechnology instrumentation.

A passively locked signal-resonant sum-frequency laser with output of 120 mW at 467 nm was shown by the University of Central Florida`s Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL, Orlando, FL). With an ultimate output goal of 300 mW, the blue laser is geared for entertainment projection systems.

For diode-pumped laser manufacturers, Virgo Optics (Port Richley, FL) demonstrated optically contacted Nd:YAG and KNbO3 chips that can be used to produce green, blue, or red outputs. Other materials manufacturers at CLEO included Litton Airtron (Charlotte, NC); the company`s new cesium lithium borate (CLBO) is intended for UV applications and generates the fourth and fifth harmonic of Nd:YAG lasers.

A diode-pumped Nd:YAG device from Continuum (Santa Clara, CA) produces 3-ns pulses at repetition rates from 0 to 5 kH¥and is intended for high conversion efficiencies at 532, 355, and 266 nm. The model EPO-5000 was apparently designed specifically for UV applications and will generate a focused beam diameter of less than 10 µm at 266 nm. Continuum also introduced a new high-power pulsed tunable source. Based on a 355-nm pumped optical parametric oscillator/amplifier the system includes a frequency doubler and produces output from 225 to 1680 nm with pulse energies u¥to 50 mJ.

Spectra-Physics Lasers (SPL, Mountain View, CA) showed a new 50-kH¥chirped-pulse Ti:sapphire regenerative amplifier system, developed in collaboration with Positive Light (Los Gatos, CA), that will extend SPL`s existing femtosecond Tsunami modelocked Ti:sapphire oscillator to a new energy and pulse regime, producing amplified pulses at 790 nm with <130-fs duration and energies in excess of 10 µJ.

Also new from SPL was a frequencydoubling accessory for the company`s MOPO-series optical parametric oscillator, intended to increase the wavelength coverage to the 220-240-nm range.

Of the many other firms showing new products, several for the first time and not only laser companies, most were pleased with the results. William Wagner of Leica Diecraft Division (Sparks, MD) was "pleasantly surprised at the interest," while Sten Tornegård of Excel Quantronix (Hauppauge, NY) said the company did not advertise the introduction of its model 4800 Ti:sapphire multipass amplifier at CLEO but commented, "It was an eye opener to many people."

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