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Micro 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 consumption.

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:

Howard Baker
0131 451 3085
Designed by Evolution Design