Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology wins €50,000 science prize

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A €50,000 science prize has been awarded to the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) for a laser platform used to scale the power of ultra-short laser pulses.

While ultra-short laser pulses have been used for the precise processing of highly-sensitive materials, until now they have often lacked power. To develop new markets for ultra-short wavelength lasers, the researchers had to increase the mean laser output of ultra-short pulse beam sources by up to several hundred watts. The award-winning laser platform solves this limited power problem.

Developed by the ILT in Aachen, the power increasing platform uses four mirrors surrounding a laser crystal plate. A pump jet enters at the two opposite sides of the plate. The mirrors are repeatedly deflected to allow ultra-short laser pulses to keep passing the plate. Each time they do, energy is transmitted from the pump jet to the laser pulse until the required power is achieved.

The Stifterverband science prize is awarded by the Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Human-Centred Technology in Germany. It honours scientifically excellent joint research project. The ILT’s partners in the project included RWTH Aachen University, the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Amphos, EdgeWave and Jenoptik.