Laser Industry News

by Hassaun A. Jones-Bey

Rockwell Scientific gets eye-protection contract
Rockwell Scientific (Thousand Oaks, CA) has been awarded a $2.8 million, 12-month contract from the U.S. Air Force to develop technologies and manufacturing processes to produce laser protective eyewear for aircrews. The eyewear resulting from the Aircrew Laser Eye Protection and Systems Development and Demonstration programs will provide aircrews with protection against a variety of laser devices to preclude the temporary or permanent loss of physical or functional vision. When using the eyewear, aircrews will be able to view their flight instruments and outside scenes without visual distortion in both day and night conditions. Rockwell Scientific's laser eye-protection technology combines optical thin-film coatings and absorbing dyes to provide protection from lasers at a variety of wavelengths in the infrared and visible portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The company will manufacture the eyewear in its new Camarillo, CA, R&D and production facility.


Coherent solid-state lasers go to the movies
Compass 315M and Sapphire 460-10 solid-state lasers from Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) are at the heart of the Oscar award-winning Arrilaser. Developed by Arnold & Richter Cinetechnik (ARRI; Munich, Germany) and the Fraunhofer Institute of Physical Measurement Techniques (Freiburg, Germany), and manufactured and distributed by Arri, the Arrilaser is a laser-based film recorder that transfers digitally produced images onto conventional 35-mm film. It was awarded a Scientific and Engineering Award in early March by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. In modern moviemaking, digital film recording is a common process in which red, green, and blue laser sources are used to "color" picture frames onto the film in a fast recording process. Specifically, Arrilaser relies on a red laser diode coupled with Coherent's Compass 315M green laser and the new Sapphire 460-10 blue laser. The results can be seen in such films as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Tomb Raider, and Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.


Sandia launches solid-state lighting website
The Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, NM) has launched a new website (lighting.sandia.gov) that will offer comprehensive information on semiconductor light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for solid-state lighting. The site covers everything from up-to-date science, technology, and business news to a calendar of industry events. Also provided are background articles and updates on a proposed national initiative to accelerate progress in solid-state lighting. Another feature of the website will be a searchable database of relevant patents—a bonus for those interested in tracking the intellectual property in this field. The site is sponsored and maintained by an internal Sandia R&D team that is working on solid-state lighting. The goal of the project is to help establish the fundamental science and technology base to replace the country's primary lighting source, incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes, with semiconductor-based solid-state lighting.


Livermore scientists completes 28-km communication link
Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL; Livermore, CA) have successfully completed a 28-km high-capacity laser communication link between the Laboratory and Mount Diablo. "This represents one of the longest terrestrial high-capacity air-optics links currently in existence," said Tony Ruggiero, principal investigator on the project to develop an optical wireless testbed for evaluating new laser communication technologies. The experiments are being conducted as part of the Secure Air-Optic Transport and Routing Network, or SATRN program. The SATRN program is a strategic initiative to develop advanced technologies for long-range laser communications. The initial LLNL-Mount Diablo link transmitted data at a 2.5-Gbit/s single-channel data rate—equivalent to the transmission of 1600 conventional T1 data lines, 400 TV channels, or 40,000 simultaneous phone calls. Systems for transmitting data using lasers over short distances of 100 to 500 m—between buildings, for example—are well-established. The challenge of the SATRN project is to extend that range to tens of kilometers while maintaining a high availability, or percentage of time the link is accessible at an acceptably low bit-error rate.

Also in the news . . .
Thales Laser (Orsay, France) is actively looking for distributors and agents worldwide. . . . The Laser Institute of America (Orlando, FL) has announced that the first exams for its Certified Laser Safety Officer Program will be held in two locations on Sunday, Oct. 13. The locations are Scottsdale, AZ, and Orlando, FL. Details can be found online at www.certified-lso.org.

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