November 2011

FEATURE

Visible improvement

Improving optical fibres for compact, stable and cost-effective visible sources of laser light with wavelength conversion and pulse gating functions is the goal of a three-year European research project that began in September.

FEATURE

Can CO2 handle the competition?

Optimisation, experts say, is one of the key areas that is going to ensure that CO2, despite its lower power efficiency and limited installation flexibility, will retain a leading position in the gamut of laser processes available to the manufacturer.

Competitive technologies, fibre and disk, offer higher power efficiencies and are able to emit a lot of power from a very small aperture, providing a high brightness. The disk laser now dominates welding and non-ferrous, brass, copper and aluminium applications.

FEATURE

Light probes

The speed of chemical reactions vary immensely – compare a rusting nail to dynamite exploding. At an atomic level though, breaking and reforming bonds happens very quickly indeed, on the order of picoseconds (10-12s) and femtoseconds (10-15s). To study events occurring over these timescales requires highly specialised equipment, not least ultrafast lasers with femtosecond pulse durations.

FEATURE

The big picture

Beyond the obvious success of photonic technology in CD and BluRay players, the creeping of lasers into the world of entertainment has been largely limited to laser light displays. However, applications in other areas are emerging, including the use of laser technology to deliver huge, high-definition video in shops, the next generation in interactive console gaming and ever-larger home cinema screens.

FEATURE

The colour of invention

The photonics industry is littered with small and medium-sized companies formed by innovative engineers who spotted a gap in the market. Oxxius most definitely falls into that category, formed in 2002 by Thierry Georges and Raymond Le Bras, who saw an opportunity to build a blue DPSS laser – something that had previously been unachievable.