Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has received funds and equipment from high-performance fibre laser and amplifier company IPG to enhance the teaching and research capabilities of the IPG Photonics Laboratory, established at WPI in 2001, in part, with support from the company.
The funds will enable WPI to provide a robust education in and continue to advance the frontiers of photonics, a field that is central to the future of industries as diverse as electronics, semiconductors, manufacturing, solar energy, computing, and medical devices.
‘The gifts from IPG Photonics have helped WPI assemble a state-of-the-art facility that has significantly augmented our ability to offer students outstanding preparation for careers in photonics, a field that is playing an ever more important role in all aspects of information technology, telecommunications, medicine, environmental science, and many other disciplines,’ said Richard Quimby, associate professor of physics at WPI and director of the IPG Photonics Laboratory. ‘With this new equipment, we will also be able to expand research programmes that will aid in the development of new materials that may open the door to exciting new applications for photonics. We’re grateful to IPG for making this investment in WPI.’
The gift includes four pieces of state-of-the art equipment manufactured by IPG Photonics:
- Tunable Erbium Fibre Laser: Able to produce light at wavelengths commonly used in telecommunications applications, the laser will be used in undergraduate and graduate laboratory courses, student projects, and research.
- Erbium Doped Fibre Amplifier: Used to amplify laser light after it has travelled long distances through fibre-optic cables, the amplifier will provide students who plan to pursue careers in photonics-related fields the opportunity to perform experiments using the same type of equipment they will encounter in the industry.
- Broadband Superluminescent Light Source: Producing light in the spectrum used in telecommunications applications, the source will enable students to perform realistic lab experiments that will give them a more detailed understanding of the properties of light as it travels through photonics devices.
- High-Power Ytterbium Laser: This will advance research at WPI aimed at helping industry identify new materials (including rare-earth-doped glasses and crystals) that can be used in new photonics applications. WPI researchers will use the laser to study the photonic properties of novel materials developed by industry partners.
The IPG Photonics Laboratory was established to support teaching, project work, and research in photonics at WPI. To date, nearly 200 undergraduates have used the IPG Photonics Laboratory in their laboratory courses.