2020 Innovators Awards: Meet the Gold-level Honorees

Oct. 13, 2020
Here, meet the Gold-level Honorees of Laser Focus World's 2020 Innovators Awards.
Lfw 2020 Innovator Awards Gold Logo 5f0b95ceef507

INDUSTRIAL LASER SYSTEMS | DuraChill Portable Recirculating Chiller

The DuraChill line of liquid-to-air recirculating chillers incorporate innovative features including a self-changing air filter, a front-fill reservoir, and an ultraviolet light fluid sanitation system to create a more-reliable chiller that OEMs can confidently integrate into all their systems. DuraChill chillers are designed to simplify tasks, take less space, integrate more seamlessly, and provide better power stability, longer laser lifespan, more consistent beam profiles, fewer service calls, and increased mean time between failures (MTBF). PolyScience(Skokie, IL; polyscience.com)


The scalable ID Qube Series platform offers a modular design that makes complex single-photon counting easier and more cost-effective for scientific and industrial applications. The platform offers researchers a range of detectors, which in combination with its multipurpose Time Correlation Single-Photon Counting (TCSPC) electronics and the ID900 Time Controller, provide compact and cost-effective solutions to perform photon-counting experiments, as well as offer a scalable platform for experiments requiring multiple parallel detectors. ID Quantique(Carouge, Switzerland; idquantique.com)


The Flexible Wavelength Selector for Hyperspectral Imaging (FWS-HSI) allows microscope users to readily convert an existing microscope into a hyperspectral imaging microscope. The simple and compact approach to tunable wavelength filtering combines the wavelength-tuning and bandwidth-adjustment capabilities of a monochromator with the imaging functionality of a thin-film filter that is suitable for use in both illumination and image acquisition. The FWS-HSI provides end-users with a versatile and effective alternative to current tunable filtering technologies out in the market. Spectrolight (Irvine, CA; spectrolightinc.com)

LASERS & SOURCES | Industrial Grade Optical Parametric Amplifier I-OPA

This new cost-efficient, compact, and user-friendly tunable femtosecond laser system opens possibilities for integrators to enter new markets with new applications. The compact and flexible module features three wavelength tuning ranges (3202600 nm, 6502500 nm, or 135010000 nm), <100 fs or ~250 fs output pulse durations, single shot to 2 MHz repetition rate, and up to 40 W pumping power. Such a laser source enables the possibility for extensive use in fields such as microscopic diagnostic multiphoton imaging systems at hospitals, and biological research institutions. It also opens up new possibilities for industrial applications that require system robustness such as material processing, cutting brittle materials, and consumer electronics manufacturing. Light Conversion (Vilnius, Lithuania; lightcon.com)

INDUSTRIAL LASER SYSTEMS | HyperDisc Laser Ablation System

This 8 kW handheld portable laser ablation system relies on a patent-pending HyperDisc optic that uses a Risley prism as the beam scanner and enables 98% laser output utilization. Field-serviceable laser sources and quick-change lens configurations enable spot-size changes and simplify replacement and maintenance. Using off-the-shelf lasers, vacuum systems, chillers, control systems, robots, and generators, the unit is designed to easily configure for left- or right-hand use as well as a robotic mount. Fiber quick-disconnect allows for plug-and-play replacement if the unit is dropped or damaged. Cart-unit integration enables flexible transport options, including trailer, truck, container, or AGV.  SurClean (Brighton, MI; surclean.com)

DETECTORS & IMAGING | Owl 1280 camera

Unlike other SWIR cameras, the Owl 1280 camera with a 1280 × 1024 InGaAs sensor has a spectral range that extends all the way across the visible spectrum, resulting in a total range of 0.4 to 1.7 µm at high sensitivity that enables more subject matter to be imaged. The 10 × 10 µm pixel pitch enables high-resolution imaging with less than 40 electrons (e-) readout noise and with a large intra-scene dynamic range of 69 dB, enabling simultaneous capture of bright and dark portions of a scene. The camera runs from 10 up to 60 Hz and has onboard automated gain control (AGC) to enable optimal contrast images from low light to bright light. The camera is temperature-stabilized with no fan. Raptor Photonics (Larne, Northern Ireland; raptorphotonics.com)

OPTICS | Ophir IR Thermal Imaging Long-Range 501350 mm Zoom Lens

Based on a high-accuracy folded optics design that fits a 20 in. airborne gimbal suitable for compact UAVs, the 501350 mm f/5.5 zoom lens is a state-of-the-art continuous zoom lens designed for applications where weight and size are critical. Suited for small-pixel VGA and HD IR cameras, the design enables performance close to the diffraction limit over a detection range >25 km, increasing imaging range of detection for IR surveillance, border control, and security systems, while also enabling gas leak detection and pre-identification of fire from long distances to support firefighting operations. Ophir Optronics Solutions LTD, an MKS Company (Jerusalem, Israel; ophiropt.com)

OPTICS | Nebular Technology

Nebular Technology is an alternative to traditional thin-film antireflection (AR) coatings for high-power laser applications. By etching subwavelength surface structures into the optic, the technology offers numerous advantages over traditional coatings, including high broadband transmission and near-bulk laser-induced damage threshold (LIDT). Because it does not involve depositing any additional materials onto the optic, the LIDT of nanostructured AR surfaces can approach that of the uncoated substrate, which is significantly higher than most traditional coatings. This is advantageous for high-power laser applications of all pulse durations, from continuous-wave (CW) to femtosecond pulses. Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ; edmundoptics.com)


By combining the outputs of individual blue diode lasers, assembled in a physical package that arranges many diodes together, the 1500 W AI-1500 is the first blue laser capable of being integrated with standard scanning systems for copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and gold welding applications. The laser has two essential features; First, an emission wavelength around 450 nm, and second, high brightness resulting from a unique proprietary design approach. When seamlessly integrated with a standard 150 × 150  mm scanner, the 11 mm-mrad beam parameter product of the AI-1500 delivers the optimum power density for welding copper in existing high-speed automated processes. Nuburu (Centennial, CO; nuburu.net)

BIO-OPTICS | Optical Tools to Fight Covid-19

Designed to detect fluorescence and color changes from dyes that activate in the presence of specific viral DNA or RNA, this Covid-19 detection system includes optical sources, filters, detectors, and temperature control systems to heat samples to the temperatures needed for Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) reactions, polymerase chain reactions (PCRs), or similar reactions, and then launch light through samples to detect fluorescence from the viral DNA/RNA. The initial systems test individual samples, but systems for testing 10 and 96 samples simultaneously are in development to enable mass testing at rates required for mass testing of the general population. OZ Optics (Ottawa, ON, Canada; ozoptics.com)

DETECTORS & IMAGING | ProMetric Y43 – 43-Megapixel Imaging Photometer

The ProMetric Y43 imaging photometer features a 43 Mpixel (8040 × 5360), scientific-grade CCD imaging sensor that is interline-cooled to limit image noise for highly accurate, repeatable imaging. Its high spatial resolution allows the camera to measure pixel and subpixel luminance variations across display bright states, applying several CCD pixels per display pixel to enable accurate pixel measurement and correction for today’s increasingly pixel-dense displays. The system identifies defects that are easily missed by human visual inspection or alternative measurement systems, completing a high-resolution measurement in less than 1.5 seconds, providing a solution for production-level applications such as in-line quality control and correction. Radiant Vision Systems (Redmond, WA; radiantvisionsystems.com)

LASERS & SOURCES | High-Power Flexible Nanosecond/Picosecond Laser

The high-power flexible nanosecond/sub-nanosecond laser, dubbed the SN Series, offers both picosecond and nanosecond pulse widths from ~50 ps to 5 ns available on a single platform to provide flexibility for process/application development in a variety of existing and new applications. Achieving high power at high rep rates and high pulse energy at low rep rates, the SN Series is available from 10 to 100 W at 1064 nm, 5 to 70 W at 532 nm, and 3 to 35 W at 355 nm, impacting a myriad of novel existing and emerging industrial micromachining applications such as high-repetition-rate PERC solar processing, laser-based microstructure diagnostics and failure analysis, as well as other next generation laser-based applications such as 3D lidar. Photonics Industries (Ronkonkoma, NY; photonix.com)

SOFTWARE | LucidShape CAA V5 Based Software

LucidShape CAA V5 Based v2020.06 introduces two new modules—Design and Visualize—that enable designers to quickly conceptualize and design automotive lighting products and generate stunning, physics-based photorealistic images that accurately depict how headlights, tail lights, and signal lights will look in real life. The software provides a complete design and visualization workflow solution for automotive lighting design within the CATIA V5 environment. Designers who are familiar with CATIA can easily leverage its powerful features with a minimal learning curve to produce automotive lighting products that meet performance, styling, visual branding, regulatory, and customer-specific requirements. Synopsys (Pasadena, CA; synopsys.com)

LASERS & SOURCES | Swift Single-frequency Laser

The Swift is a compact, single-frequency, eye-safe diode-pumped laser optimized for use in coherent and direct detection lidar systems. A small, high-speed low-voltage piezo element inside the laser cavity provides fast and accurate tunability, and the mode-hop-free tuning range can be extended further via laser cavity temperature tuning. Exhibiting high continuous-wave (CW) output power and less than 10 kHz/ms short-term frequency jitter, it is suitable for use as a master and local oscillator source in coherent lidar systems. Very fast and broad mode-hop-free frequency tuning enables next-generation spectroscopic applications like pollution monitoring and greenhouse gas measurements using differential absorption lidar techniques. Beyond Photonics (Boulder, CO; beyondphotonics.com)

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