Laser 97 will highlight semiconductor lasers

Laser 97, the international trade fair for applied optoelectronics, will be held in Munich, Germany, June 16-20. This is the 13th show for the biannual meeting, which began in 1973. More than 700 exhibitors from 20 countries are expected. Seventeen individual conferences will run simultaneously with the trade fair, sponsored by groups such as SPIE, the European Optical Society, the European Physical Society, and the German Research Center for Aerospace.

Laser 97 will highlight semiconductor lasers

Laser 97, the international trade fair for applied optoelectronics, will be held in Munich, Germany, June 16-20. This is the 13th show for the biannual meeting, which began in 1973. More than 700 exhibitors from 20 countries are expected. Seventeen individual conferences will run simultaneously with the trade fair, sponsored by groups such as SPIE, the European Optical Society, the European Physical Society, and the German Research Center for Aerospace.

A primary focus of this year`s Laser meeting is semiconductor lasers. Increased output power, optimized cooling systems, and improved beam-shaping techniques have sparked off a trend toward direct diode-laser applications. Currently, diode lasers are being tested for use in industries such as automotive and machine-tool manufacturing, as well as material and plastics processing. Lower prices have also increased interest in the application of these devices--according to the organizers of Laser 97, the price per watt of output has fallen by half since Laser 95, to around DM 80 ($47). German laser developers claim to lead the field in direct applications for high-power laser stacks, while conceding that US suppliers lead in fiber-coupled systems.

Applications of lasers in industry, particularly in various forms of material processing, have grown steadily over the last two decades and currently account for roughly half of the world market for lasers. This growth has occurred in mature techniques as well as in novel applications and applies to a wide range of laser output powers and wavelengths. The Laser in Materials Processing conference will highlight the state of industrial laser applications, particularly marking, etching, drilling, cutting, welding, and prototyping as well as applying wear-resistant coatings on engines.

In the Conference on Optical Inspection and Micromeasurements II, within the symposium on Lasers and Optics in Manufacturing, S. Brinkmann from the University of Erlangen (Nuremberg, Germany) will discuss interferometric testing surfaces with computer-generated holograms.

Speakers in the conference on Optical Systems for Rapid Prototyping and Flexible Manufacturing, chaired by R. J. Ahlers, Stuttgart, Germany, will discuss the need to design and produce new products with development cycles of months or even weeks. The conference focuses on the development, integration, and use of optical technologies and systems for rapid prototyping and flexible manufacturing. It includes strategic considerations and integration aspects as well as the description of new systems for industrial use.

Remote-sensing processes such as Fourier transformation and diode-laser absorption spectroscopy are now commercially available. In the symposium, EnviroSense97, speakers will describe applying these methods to monitor gas emissions from extensive factory sites, waste dumps, and cattle farms. Use of dispersion models to calculate and measure harmful gas concentrations and mobility will also be discussed. Advances in single-mode and ultrafast lasers have led to new applications for lidar, such as taking multicomponent measurements.

The general exhibition at Laser 97 will focus on diode-pumped solid-state devices, as well as laser crystals and optical components. Devices on display will include a compact green-emitting laser pointer along with a neodymium-doped laser, chromium-doped YAG crystals, and a diode-pumped solid-state laser delivering 10-W output at 1064 nm.

Attendance two years ago at Laser 95 set a record, with more than 14,000 visitors from 61 countries attending 680 exhibits and eight individual conferences. More information on this year`s symposium, including all lecture topics and discussion sessions, can be found on the Internet at http://www.dc-europto.com.

Laurie Ann Peach

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