Optics - Custom Spectacles Make Lasers Brighter
Roy McBride, Managing director of Power Photonic
stated “The James Watt Institute have
not only allowed us to advance our research,
but we have successfully satisfied real business
requirements with a commercial solution”
PowerPhotonic is an Innovative Scottish technology
company who design and manufacture custom micro-optics
for beam enhancement of laser diode arrays in bars
and stacks, providing unique optical solutions using
rapidly manufactured optical components.
The next generation of optical data storage and
solid state laser pumping have contributed to laser
diodes becoming a billion dollar industry. The ability
to offer increased brightness, wider operating temperature
range, and higher efficiencies has also enabled
penetration into the defence and medical sectors.
There is a therefore a constant requirement to increase
product performance, while reducing cost and power
In response to this business need, the Laser and
Photonics Applications (LPA) group which is led
by Heriot-Watt’s Prof Howard Baker has pioneered
the production of custom micro-optics by laser micromachining
and polishing, applying detailed understanding of
laser machining techniques to produce functional
optics with arbitrary surface shapes.
The results of this research have led to the formation
of high tech spin-out company, PowerPhotonic Ltd.
The company has developed this research into world-leading
micro-optical fabrication technology that enables
the company to compete in high power industrial
laser and optical communications markets.
The ability to design and produce innovative micro-optics
at a UK fabrication facility has allowed the LPA
group to press ahead with a range of demonstrations
of new capabilities for diode laser sources, far-beyond
the original application in correction of beam errors.
For example, in collaboration with industrial partner,
Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems, the Heriot Watt
Group has demonstrated the use of the arbitrary
surface-shape optics fabrication capability to produce
optical elements which directly convert the beams
of a linear array of emitters into hexagonal close-packed
format suitable for future mid-infrared laser sources.
The fabrication of the optical component for this
application was carried out by PowerPhotonic Ltd.
In parallel work under a TSB project with GSI Ltd,
Rugby, PowerPhotonic Ltd and Cranfield University,
the company are building modules using the laser
beam shaping technique as part of the development
of multi-kilowatt lasers for welding applications.
Joint IMRC work with PowerPhotonic Ltd has developed
a range of products where the original beam correction
capability is combined with a second optical function,
usually array beam collimation, on one laser-cut
substrate, to reduce the complexity of the beam
line in high-brightness diode laser products.
For more information contact:
0131 451 3085