SANTA CLARA, CA—At last year’s SPIE Photonics West 2007 conference, Mobius Photonics came out of stealth mode with the launch of its green (532 nm) and ultraviolet (355 nm) fiber lasers (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/280436). Initially targeted at industrial markets such as precision applications in microelectronics, the ultraviolet lasers were meant to replace diode–pumped solid–state (DPSS) lasers. Back then, president and CEO Laura Smoliar explained that its fiber laser portfolio offered pulses with very high repetition rates in the nanosecond range and—unlike many DPSS lasers—the ability to change the pulse width without changing the beam shape.
Since that initial product launch, “Mobius has been shipping product,” said Smoliar. “We have seen the mushrooming of many new applications for fiber lasers in the visible and ultraviolet wavelengths, and are working hand–in–hand with customers to make sure our lasers deliver the pulse widths, repetition rates, and energy levels they need for their particular application.” And now, to obtain a further competitive advantage in its fiber laser offering, Mobius has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) regarding U.S. patent #5,745,284. The patent is based on the pioneering work of Lew Goldberg, Dahv Kliner, and Jeffrey Koplow and broadly covers ultraviolet (UV) laser sources based on the harmonic wavelength conversion of the output of a seeded amplifier, particularly a fiber amplifier.
“The Harvard patent is really a subset of the technology in our full product offering, specifically targeting the UV region with a particular method of setting up the oscillators and amplifiers in a fully fiber–based master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) architecture for robust operation,” said Smoliar. “Acquisition of an exclusive license to this patent enhances the value of Mobius products and increases our customers’ competitive advantage in the marketplace.” And, because the patent is exclusive, Smoliar said that Mobius can also sub–license it to other companies.
Founded in 2005 by former engineers and executives from Lightwave Electronics who had recognized the shortcomings of DPSS technology, Mobius Photonics calls itself the leader in commercial fiber–based laser sources for the visible and UV. “One year after our initial product launch, customers are still telling us that they can’t get these short–pulse UV lasers anywhere else,” said Smoliar. “I’ve seen customers get ‘giddy’ as they watch our lasers remain stable in terms of mode shape and pulse width, even as the repetition rate changes from kilohertz to megahertz.” Smoliar credits the background expertise of Mobius’ employees in nonlinear optics and high–power single–mode fibers for finding a better way to make lasers—a modular approach that solves problems by simply swapping in another circuit board in the field, for example, rather than having the customer return the laser.
Although its current products feature both fundamental infrared (IR) and harmonically wavelength converted (green and UV) outputs for applications in microelectronics processing, wafer and photovoltaic singulation, semiconductor inspection and repair, displays, and medical therapy, the Harvard technology allows even better performance targeting the UV wavelength range. “Customers can currently order a 355 nm fiber laser from Mobius with a maximum power greater than 10 W, with repetition rates in the kilohertz range out to 1 MHz, and tunable pulse widths down to 1 ns,” said Smoliar. “A shorter wavelength means finer feature sizes for materials processing applications, and broadens the target absorption wavelengths into the UV for a variety of developing and to–be–developed applications.”
Smoliar is available for interviews during the Photonics West conference, and wants its customers to know that its products are also scalable in power in order to meet those long–term roadmaps so important to a customer’s ultimate success.