CLEO/Laser Focus World 2012 Innovation Awards

May 1, 2012
The 2012 CLEO/Laser Focus World Innovation Awards program is designed to honor the most timely, groundbreaking products in the field of photonics and laser science. The awards are sponsored by Laser Focus World and the Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics (CLEO).

BioPhotonic Solutions' femtoAdaptiv wins award for dramatic imaging improvements in multiphoton microscopy

The 2012 CLEO/Laser Focus World Innovation Awards program is designed to honor the most timely, groundbreaking products in the field of photonics and laser science. The awards are sponsored by Laser Focus World and the Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics (CLEO).

Each year, Innovation Award entrants are challenged to show how their application, service, or product (launched between September 2010 and March 2012 for the 2012 awards) met several key criteria, including significant impact to the photonics industry, overall excellent functionality and long life expectancy, secure patent position, and above all, an exceptional level of innovation.

For 2012, one winner and two honorable mentions were chosen. The awards were presented at the CLEO:2012 Plenary Session on Tuesday, May 8 in San Jose, CA. Information on the Innovation Awards can be found online at


BioPhotonic Solutions (East Lansing, MI)

The 2012 CLEO/Laser Focus World Innovation Award winner was BioPhotonic Solutions for the development of femtoAdaptiv, the first ultrafast laser system capable of adaptive pulse self-compression that delivers ultrashort (sub-10 fs) pulses at the focal plane of a microscope objective. Developed in close partnership with VENTEON Laser Technologies GmbH (Garbsen, Germany), the femtoAdaptiv synergistically combines an ultrabroadband laser oscillator with MIIPS automated pulse compression technology.

Despite the fact that lasers with shorter pulses create brighter images and cause less thermal damage in multiphoton microscopy applications, laser companies still often compromise the shortest-delivered (approximately 100 fs) pulse duration for the simplicity of linear-chirp-only compensation—until now: The femtoAdaptiv is the first ultrafast laser capable of adaptive pulse self-compression by automatically precompensating high-order dispersion using adaptive optics. It can control the output center wavelength (from 650–1050 nm) and pulse duration (from 5–500 fs) in a matter of milliseconds, without the moving parts—and associated maintenance requirements—of currently available tunable lasers.

The femtoAdaptiv seamlessly couples to a computer controller that automatically prechirps the output to deliver transform-limited pulses at the microscope imaging plane. When used for multiphoton imaging, operators can expect order-of-magnitude shorter laser pulses, and therefore brighter images. In addition, users can implement the latest imaging techniques such as single-beam CARS and SRS micro-spectroscopy without requiring a second laser.

For more information on the femtoAdaptiv system, go to


attocube systems AG (Munich, Germany)

The extremely compact, noninvasive, and multiple-channel interferometric displacement sensor system from attocube systems AG received a 2012 CLEO/Laser Focus World Innovation Awards honorable mention for its ability to detect the spatial position change of a device in translational motion with high precision and megahertz bandwidth.

Unlike existing displacement sensors, the attocube sensor is extremely compact as it is entirely based on optical fiber technology operating at telecommunications wavelengths. The patented sensing heads are small enough (sub-centimeter) to fit in tight spaces, and the optical signal containing the interferometric information for displacement is collected remotely through the same telecom fiber that ports the laser light to the sensing head. A quadrature signal of the interferometric beats is generated using a patented technique that measures both the displacement and its direction.

For more information on this displacement sensor, go to

Nufern (East Granby, CT)

A second honorable mention was received by Nufern for holmium-doped active optical fibers that enable high-power 2.1 μm fiber lasers.

Understanding the limits of thulium fibers, Nufern developed the new holmium-doped large-mode-area silica fibers after years of collaboration with government agencies and key international customers. Optimized for high-power operation, this new family of fibers was instrumental in the demonstration of the world's first high-power (>100 W) silica fiber laser operating at wavelengths >2.1 μm—a wavelength region useful for medical lasers, infrared countermeasures, and other mid-infrared applications.

The holmium-doped fibers are available in two different geometrical configurations: a 25 μm core/250 μm clad diameter, or a 40 μm core/400 μm clad diameter.

Please visit for more information on these holmium fibers and fiber lasers.

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