Sinking economy can't stop new product innovation at Photonics West

January 30, 2009--Despite the woes of the broader economy and the reduced number of "boots on the ground" for many companies in the exhibit hall, SPIE's Photonics West saw no shortage of new products and technology advances--in fact, many exhibitors understand that there is perhaps no better time to retrench and innovate than in an industry downturn so as to be better prepared when the market recovers.

Jan 30th, 2009

January 30, 2009--Despite the woes of the broader economy and the reduced number of "boots on the ground" for many companies in the exhibit hall, SPIE's Photonics West saw no shortage of new products and technology advances--in fact, many exhibitors understand that there is perhaps no better time to retrench and innovate than in an industry downturn so as to be better prepared when the market recovers.

KLA-Tencor gave booth demonstrations of its INM 100 Universal Review Microscope--an optical brightfield, darkfield, fluorescence, and ultraviolet microscope for routine review of wafers, masks, MEMS, optoelectronic devices and hard disk substrates; it also demonstrated its ICOS Solar Wafer & Cell Inspection Modules for high-speed automated optical in-line inspection of the front- and backend of solar wafers and cells up to 8 inches.

New products proliferated in the laser category. Alfalight debuted a new surface-emitting distributed feedback (DFB) laser design that will be detailed in an upcoming news story in Laser Focus World. Multiwave Photonics released a MOPA-M diode seeded and pulsed fiber laser for scribing of thin-film solar panels. It offers the features required for this application: short pulses (< 30 ns) for reduced heat-affected zone and micro cracking; high beam quality for Gaussian focusing to < 30 micron; and high pulse frequency from single shot to > 500 kHz for higher throughput. Luna Technologies announced its PHOENIX 1400 benchtop tunable laser based on proprietary MEMs technology for telecommunications test and measurement as well as a variety of other applications including optical frequency domain reflectometry systems, sensing, metrology, and spectroscopy applications. nLIGHT Corporation displayed its new Pearl fiber-coupled diode laser products for industrial applications in plastic welding and soldering. Configurations are available at 915, 940 and 980 nm wavelengths with up to 100 W from 200 to 800 micron PowerCore fiber. Calmar Laser introduced its Narrow Band Pulsed Fiber Laser with repetition rates to tens of MHz or GHz, wavelengths from 780 nm to 1 micron, sub-nanometer bandwidth, and active or passive mode locking. And Amplitude Systemes released its Satsuma series of ultrafast fiber lasers with simultaneous high output energy and high repetition rate and its Mikan ultra-compact air-cooled oscillator that offers an optional fiber coupled output.

Bookham, who also announced its plans to merge with Avanex during Photonics West (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/351649), introduced a number of new products this year including the New Focus Vortex II Precision Laser with low susceptibility to vibrations, frequency stability, and narrow linewidth for applications in atomic spectroscopy and laser-locking applications, thanks to patent-pending magnetic damping and StarFlex motion actuation. Bookham has also achieved an output power of 200 W with a 10 mm laser diode bar that it says is the industry's most powerful commercially available continuous wave (CW) single bar product--a 60% power increase on the previous Bookham offering with the same footprint, and available in wavelengths from 915-980 nm. Other new products from Bookham include a 25 W multi-emitter fiber laser pump module and a New Focus 4-axis beam controller.

And last for this report, but certainly not least, Schott has expanded its one-piece fiber-optic faceplates to an image size of 300 square millimeters for medical X-Ray machines and displays for commercial and defense applications, and has developed "true color" special short flint glasses, N-KZFS4, N-KZFS5 and N-KZFS8 that enable high-end apochromatic design and transmit light in the blue violet range for life science applications like fluorescence microscopy. Schott has also announced its optical glass laser beam shaper diffractive optical elements (DOEs) that can be mass-produced by a precision molding process adapted from the glass molding used for the production of aspherical lenses.

Look for many of these new products in the "New Products" section of Laser Focus World magazine at www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/349362. To submit your new product for consideration as a free new product listing in the magazine, please email a 50-100 word technical description and a high-resolution image to LFWNewProducts@pennwell.com.

--Posted by Gail Overton, gailo@pennwell.com.

More in Fiber Optics