ISLA promises new generation game with 2-micron lasers

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The development of 2μm fibre laser technology is the focus of a €4.5 million European Union funded project that began in October.

Lasers that use 2μm fibre are expected to deliver a tenfold increase in power compared with current 1μm based technology. This increase will enable new uses in the areas of industrial processing, free space communications and medical procedures.

Called Integrated disruptive components for 2μm fibre Lasers (ISLA) and pronounced ‘eye-la’, the research will demonstrate transparent plastic cutting and photovoltaic cell scribing. The lasers used will be 2μm fibre continuous wave, pulsed and ultra-short lasers.

ISLA technical lead Dr Andrew Robertson said: ‘The main application will be materials processing.  The long wavelength makes a big difference to absorption.’

An expected outcome of the research is improved laser absorption by plastics and glass. The project will develop a set of building block components and a tool kit of processes to define an integrated modular common 2μm fibre laser platform. This platform will consist of compatible and self-consistent fibre, components, laser diodes and processing techniques.

The project partners are Gooch and Housego, Rofin Sinar Laser, Oclaro, Time-Bandwidth Products, the University of Southampton, Trinity College Dublin, and Vivid Components.