May 2014


Solar research leads to laser discovery

Researchers working with perovskite, a material showing great promise for photovoltaics, have shown that the material can also be used to produce cheap lasers.

The scientists from Professor Sir Richard Friend’s group at Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, working with Professor Henry Snaith’s University of Oxford group, sandwiched a thin layer of lead halide perovskite between two mirrors to produce an optically driven laser. The material showed very efficient luminescence, with up to 70 per cent of absorbed light re-emitted.


Lasers in profile

Kilowatt-class fibre and disk lasers are now becoming more commonplace in industrial manufacturing – IPG offers fibre lasers up to 50kW output power. So, how are such high energy density laser beams calibrated?


On the hunt for other worlds

Looking for exoplanets, planets that lie outside the Solar System, is an area of astronomy requiring the largest telescope apertures available. One of the objectives of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), which will have a primary mirror 39 metres in diameter when it is completed in 2023, is to use its massive light-gathering capabilities to look for extrasolar planets


Light sensing keeps soldiers safer

The latest sensing capabilities for defence will be presented at the upcoming SPIE DSS event, which takes place from 5 to 9 May in Baltimore, USA (for more on the show, see the preview on page 18). Lidar (light detection and ranging) and spectral sensing will be covered in depth, both of which can give advanced warning to soldiers of harmful gases or explosives in the vicinity. The technology is not necessarily developed originally for the military, but there are certain adaptations that have to be made for defence, typically by making it smaller, more rugged and less expensive.


Made to measure

Twelve years after its formation, Pro-Lite Technology remains a bright prospect. Pro-Lite is a specialist photonics company and supplier of optics, lasers, opto-mechanics as well as light measurement and photometry equipment. The Pro-Lite Group comprises: Pro-Lite UK; Photometric & Optical Testing Services – an independent measurement laboratory; SphereOptics, a Germany subsidiary providing sales and service in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey and eastern Europe; and Pro-Lite Technology France, which provides sales and service in France.