Micromachining: Ultrafast laser yields the latest in designer eyewear

It may look like another Internet joke, but this image of a common housefly sporting a pair of custom-made “glasses” is real.

It may look like another Internet joke, but this image of a common housefly sporting a pair of custom-made “glasses” is real. To demonstrate their ultra­fast-laser micromachining capabilities, Frank Korte and Guenter Kamlage, cofounders of Micreon (Hannover, Germany; a spinoff of Laser Zentrum Hannover), fabricated the eyeglass frames using an amplified Ti:sapphire laser pumped by a ­frequency-doubled, Q-switched Nd:YAG ­laser. Central wavelength of the femtosecond laser was 775 nm, pulse duration was 130 fs, and pulse energy was adjustable up to 1 mJ. The eyeglass frame is 2 mm in size (the size of the fly’s head), and the logo in the middle has a diameter of 0.1 mm (about the diameter of a human hair). The fly was placed in a vacuum chamber, “fitted” with the glasses, and the photo taken using a scanning electron microscope.

Kathy Kincade

More in Lasers & Sources