In a few years time micro laser projectors could be built into mobile phones and be projecting images the size of A3 paper onto a wall, using a light source from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the country’s Aalto University and Finnish laser developer EpiCrystals, writes Rob Coppinger.
The gold standard in optical metrology is still interferometry, as it’s the technique with the highest accuracies. However, interferometers are typically large, expensive and restricted to a lab as they need to be isolated from vibration. To make inline characterisation of optics during production, other analysis criteria are used such as modulation transfer function (MTF) or, if more information is required, data from a wavefront sensor.
A femtosecond is an incredibly short period of time; it’s a millionth of a billionth of a second, which is the same amount of time compared to a second as a second is compared to about 31.7 million years. Lasers that pulse at femtosecond durations have been around for a while, but up until recently have largely been confined to research laboratories. Today, however, a number of companies provide femtosecond systems for industrial processing – Raydiance in the US, Amplitude Systemes in France, and High Q Laser, which was recently bought out by Newport Spectra-Physics, to name a few.
As high power lasers have gained more interest from industry for welding and cutting ever thicker metals, the technical advances being made in this field have not gone unnoticed by governments and their military organisations. From chemical to solid state and fibre, laser systems have been investigated for everything from force protection through knocking out mortars and improvised explosive devices (IED) to taking aim at intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
It has been an exciting time for spectroscopy, and Avantes is one company riding the crest of the wave. Since we last checked in with the Dutch manufacturer (Electro Optics, February/March 2009), Avantes has relocated to larger offices and made significant steps forward in both its product range and strategic direction.