Improved fiber lasers for industrial applications

Paderborn, Germany – Gooch & Housego, the global optical and systems manufacturer, has announced the launch of a European Union-funded FP7 project, in which the company is the lead partner. The initial meeting for the 4.5-million-Euro collaborative project, "Integrated Disruptive Components for 2 Micron Fiber Lasers" (ISLA), was held in October at Trinity College, Dublin.

Two-micron fiber laser technology has the potential to open a whole new area of industrial applications. The power scaling advantages enabled from increased core size and higher nonlinear thresholds offer a tenfold increase in "raw power" compared with current 1 micron-based technology.

Simultaneously, a host of applications specific to this almost unexplored region of the eye-safe spectrum become possible, including: industrial processing, freespace communications, and medical procedures. Undoubtedly, more will arise as currently exotic wavelengths become readily available.

To date, the lack of suitable components has blocked R&D in this field. However, several recent disruptive component developments have changed the landscape:

  1. Ho-doped silica fiber technology has advanced, providing a solid base for development,
  2. All-fiber component technology offers integrated functionality,
  3. Better isolator materials and new designs offer potential for effective 2 micron devices,
  4. New modulator materials and designs allow Q-switches, filters & switches,
  5. Carbon nanotube composites offer effective sub-ps modelockers, and
  6. 790 nm diode technology is ripe for development for optimum direct pumping of Tm.

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

Information on the ISLA project can be found at

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