Laser industry report

Plans by the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC; Menlo Park, CA) to build a revolutionary new synchrotron x-ray source received a major boost thanks to $54 million in funding provided by the U.S. Congress in the fiscal 2005 budget appropriation.

Mar 1st, 2005

Stanford x-ray laser gets $54 million in federal funds

Plans by the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC; Menlo Park, CA) to build a revolutionary new synchrotron x-ray source received a major boost thanks to $54 million in funding provided by the U.S. Congress in the fiscal 2005 budget appropriation. Congress began funding project engineering and design work for the project, called the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) in fiscal 2003 with $6 million. Last year, LCLS received $7.5 million for engineering and design, and $2 million for research and development.

The big step up to $54 million marks the first phase of construction. Actual groundbreaking and construction of new buildings will begin in 2006. Construction will include 800 m of tunnel and 100,000 sq ft of workspace, including underground experimental halls and a central laboratory office support building.

The center’s x-ray pulses will be 1000 times shorter and 10 billion times brighter than pulses available at existing synchrotron sources like SPEAR3 at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. This should enable breakthrough science such as the creation and study of exotic states of matter, imaging the structures and dynamics of biological and chemical molecules on the atomic scale and probing the fundamental aspects of atomic structure. Scientists expect LCLS to deliver “first light” to experimenters in 2009.

JDSU to supply modulators for NIF

JDS Uniphase (San Jose, CA) has been awarded a contract to provide electro-optic modulators for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) Project at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL; Livermore, CA). When completed in 2008, NIF is expected to be the largest laser in the world, producing a combined 500 trillion watts of power in a UV laser pulse with energy up to 1.8 mJ. As part of this 192-beam laser system, NIF is using custom designed and manufactured JDS Uniphase lithium niobate modulators. With these modulators, which are critical for precise pulse shaping, the NIF laser should be able to perform a broad range of applications in high-energy density, inertial fusion energy, and basic science research.

Vitesse and Eblana collaborate on laser diode fabrication

Eblana Photonics (Dublin, Ireland) and Vitesse Semiconductor (Camarillo, CA) formed a manufacturing relationship for low-threshold, high-quality, single-mode laser diodes on Vitesse’s 4-in. indium phosphide (InP) integrated-circuit (IC) fabrication line. The manufacturing relationship builds on the two companies’ previous fabrication of 2.5-Gbit/s, single-wavelength, laser diodes using established InP IC toolsets and processes. Those lasers exhibit single-wavelength lasing emission at a wavelength of 1.54 µm with threshold currents of 12 mA at a temperature of 25°C. Side-mode suppression ratios of better than 40 dB were observed with optical emission powers of 20 mW into a single-lasing mode. Vitesse used its standard InP heterojunction bipolar transistor process to fabricate the laser Optofluidics enables compact tunable interfermeter design using Eblana Photonics’ unique regrowth-free laser technology platform.

“Eblana has solved a key problem in laser technology by developing a device with DFB-like performance and manufactured using standard IC process tools,” said Ray Milano, vice president of optical technologies at Vitesse. “Furthermore, because Eblana's technology platform only utilizes standard electronics design rules and mature processes, it achieves performance and product consistency typical of IC products which to date have not been features of photonics products.”
Kathy Kincade

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Also in the news . . .

Pro-Lite Technology (Cranfield, England) has been appointed the authorized distributor for Cascade Technologies (Glasgow, Scotland) in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Cascade designs and manufactures modular products based on quantum-cascade lasers for gas detection; Pro-Lite supplies lasers and related photonic equipment. . . . Fabrinet (San Francisco, CA), an engineering and electromechanical manufacturing services company, has officially opened its new Pinehurst manufacturing campus in Pathumthani, Thailand. The facility, which is in the process of being expanded with the construction of a second building, will manufacture complex optical, mechanical, and electronic components, modules, and subassemblies. . . . Novalux (Sunnyvale, CA) appointed Michael Jansen as chief operating officer. Jansen has more than 20 years of experience in the photonics industry and has served in executive management roles in several companies, most recently as vice president of engineering at Coherent.

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