Petaluma, CA, United States
Petaluma, CA, United States

Raydiance Inc., headquartered in Petaluma, California, is the maker of the world’s first software-controlled ultrashort pulse laser. The company was established in 2003 by Jeff Bullington and Peter Delfyett in Orlando Florida as Ablation Industries, Inc. In 2004 Ablation Industries changed its corporate name to Raydiance, Inc. and recruited Barry Schuler, former CEO of America Online , as its new CEO and Chairman of the Board. Raydiance, Inc. commercialized a fiber-based USP technology first developed in the laboratories at the University of Central Florida's College of Optics. This effort was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Raydiance introduced its first product, a desktop-sized picosecond pulse laser, in 2007. Ultrashort pulse lasers, which generate pulses in the picosecond to femtosecond range, are being used for applications in the life sciences, micromachining, imaging and diagnostics, and defense sectors. Wikipedia.


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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2011

Phase Tailoring represents a unique and novel approach to significantly driving up pulse energies in all-fiber ultrafast laser systems. One of the challenges of working in the ultrafast regime is that the amplification and compression part of the chirped pulse amplification scheme can cause a variety of effects that will damage pulse quality and must be accounted for, such as B-integral, SOP and others. Phase Tailoring enables pre-compensation for these undesirable qualities, and as a result, enables greater pulse amplification for fiber and hybrid amplifier technologies. Under this Phase II program, a fully integrated software control Phase Tailoring system will be developed. The system will be demonstrated in a benchtop environment, and ultimately packaged and integrated into a packaged, millijoule pulse energy fiber ultrafast laser at the 1.55 micron wavelength.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.99K | Year: 2010

Ultrafast laser technology offers compelling capabilities for national defense, state-of-the-art health care, and the materials processing industry. The development of this technology into commercial form factor hardware has been limited mostly by the size, cost, complexity, and/or pulse energy limitations of current ultrafast laser systems. Optical fiber based ultrafast lasers have dramatically decreased the size and cost of this technology, and Raydiance is concurrently advancing the pulse energy capabilities of fiber systems to reach the millijoule level—a major breakthrough for addressing numerous applications. Despite significant progress in overall fiber architecture, a critical laser system segment that has not been improved is the pulse compressor. Although there are well-known architectures taking advantage of the basic Treacy compressor format, these involve many free-space optical components that require precise alignment maintenance. A brute force opto-mechanical approach—in order to be sufficiently rugged for deployment in Navy applications—would render the overall system too heavy and expensive. This program seeks to advance a cutting-edge monolithic, or single block, architecture for a full performance compressor which will dramatically improve the stability of fiber ultrafast laser systems while simultaneously reducing size, weight, and cost.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.99K | Year: 2010

Ultrafast laser technology offers compelling capabilities for national defense, state-of-the-art health care, and the materials processing industry. The development of this technology into commercial form factor hardware has been limited mostly by the size, cost, complexity, and/or pulse energy limitations of current ultrafast laser systems. Optical fiber based ultrafast lasers have dramatically decreased the size and cost of this technology, and Raydiance is concurrently advancing the pulse energy capabilities of fiber systems to reach the millijoule level-a major breakthrough for addressing numerous applications. Despite significant progress in overall fiber architecture, a critical laser system segment that has not been improved is the pulse compressor. Although there are well-known architectures taking advantage of the basic Treacy compressor format, these involve many free-space optical components that require precise alignment maintenance. A brute force opto-mechanical approach-in order to be sufficiently rugged for deployment in Navy applications-would render the overall system too heavy and expensive. This program seeks to advance a cutting-edge monolithic, or single block, architecture for a full performance compressor which will dramatically improve the stability of fiber ultrafast laser systems while simultaneously reducing size, weight, and cost.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.30K | Year: 2013

Ultrafast lasers have unique interactions with matter that include the ability to athermally ablate materials, create micron-resolution texturing of surfaces, and provide diagnostic, sensing, and imaging capabilities. Of particular interest to the Navy is the potential use of ultrafast lasers for aircraft self-defense applications. However, the propagation of an ultrafast signal through the atmosphere inevitably results in changes to the temporal and spatial characteristics of the pulsed beam, which diminishes the effectiveness of the signal. In this Phase II SBIR, Raydiance proposes to develop an autonomous pulse tuning system that will pre-compensate for atmospheric effects so that the desired pulse energy and quality can be delivered on target, regardless of field conditions. Key tasks in the program will include the development of integrated devices and methods for ultrafast laser pulse shaping and tuning, and control algorithms for autonomous programming the nature of the laser output. In addition, an architecture will be designed that enables a user to program the temporal and spatial characteristics of the output. Option phase tasks include building and delivering a packaged prototype pulse tuning subsystem that incorporates real-time user-selected optimization.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.95K | Year: 2011

Ultra Short Pulse (USP) laser technology offers compelling capabilities for the defense, medical and material processing industries. The development of this technology into commercial devices has been limited mostly by the size, cost and pulse energies provided by current USP laser systems. Fiber-based USP lasers have dramatically decreased the size of this technology, but the amplification of high energy pulses is still necessary to achieve the desired success for commercial USP laser devices. Power scaling of fiber lasers and amplifiers requires increasing the signal mode size to avoid nonlinear impairments and optical damage. Established approaches to scalability are inherently limited since the signal mode becomes progressively more unstable with effects such as mode competition and scrambling as the size increases. As described in this proposal, the capability to scale fiber amplifiers beyond the 100 pulse range, in a single polarization state, with high beam quality and in a compact form factor is achieved using higher order mode (HOM) propagation. Higher order modes have demonstrated scalable mode size with a high degree of stability in passive fibers. They are also fully compatible with existing or enhanced all-glass pump combiners and fiber fusion and assembly techniques. This program seeks to further advance the state of HOM fiber amplifiers, as well as develop the associated components to handle the high energy pulses generated by the amplifier.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 299.90K | Year: 2014

Ultrashort pulse lasers have unique interactions with matter that include the ability to athermally ablate materials, create micron resolution texturing of surfaces, and provide diagnostic, sensing, and imaging capabilities. Of particular interest to the Navy is the potential use of ultrafast lasers for aircraft self-defense applications. One key component in the generation of laser pulses with sub-picosecond durations is the optical compressor. Compression systems used in commercially available ultrashort pulse lasers are typically bulky as they are an array of mirrors that form a path length of up to several meters. In this Phase II SBIR, Raydiance proposes to enhance a proven alternative technology known as a Chirped Bragg Grating such that they will compress 3 ns pulses down to 500 fs. In addition to a greatly reduced package size (where the beam path is just several centimeters), these devices have the benefit of stability as the beam path is largely through a solid state device. Key tasks in the base and option phases will demonstrate progressively capable gratings. In addition, architectures will be designed, built and environmentally tested to ultimately provide as a deliverable a proven, ruggedized compressor module that will greatly improve the USP lasers SWaP characteristics.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2012

Multiple military and civilian applications of ultrafast laser technology become viable at a pulse energy level of 1 millijoule (mJ). While such levels have been demonstrated in femtosecond solid state amplifier systems, such as titanium-sapphire and ytterbium thin disk architectures, these systems rely on multi- element free space optical assemblies that are incompatible with demanding military deployments, as well as in industrial manufacturing venues. To date, 1 mJ pulse energy levels have not been achieved in fiber ultrafast pulse systems. To increase the pulse energy output of fiber systems, Raydiance proposes to advance the capabilities of the critical, final element in the amplifier chainthe pulse compressor. Raydiance will develop a 3 nanosecond (ns) pulse compressor that is compact, robust, and readily handles high pulse energy and average power. More specifically, Raydiance and its partner, OptiGrate, will design the optical geometry of a multi-pass chirped Bragg grating (CBG) compressor, demonstrate CBG devices specifically designed for the multi-pass configuration, and execute bench top experiments to validate the 3 ns compressor concept. In a Phase I Option, Raydiance will test the CBG devices in an end-to-end chirped pulse amplification system.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 499.46K | Year: 2010

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project makes significant advances in the field of photonics by developing a cutting-edge performance, cost effective and compact ultrafast laser light amplifier. The amplifier is a key element in generating this compelling form of light for revolutionary materials processing capabilities. Ultrafast lasers enable athermal ablation of nearly any material with micron-scale precision. Historically, ultrafast lasers have been confined to bulky, optical breadboard systems?ideal for academic environments but unsuitable for practical commercial applications owing to their ambient temperature sensitivity and tendency to drift out of alignment. The technology developed under this SBIR leverages novel laser amplifier glass material development to support a planar waveguide amplifier architecture. When combined with recent advances in fiber-optic ultrafast laser technology, the herein developed amplifier module will produce a high power, compact, and cost efficient ultrafast laser integrated system. In addition, the advances made in planar waveguides under this program have utility in compact, high performance long pulse and continuous wave lasers. The technology will advance the state of the art in photonics to yield cheap, efficient and rugged amplifier architectures which can be used in a variety of applications.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to provide a pragmatic architecture for ultrafast lasers which enables discovery and the application of this light in the commercial marketplace. The inherent capability for the short bursts of light from ultrafast lasers to ablate any material?including novel glasses, noble metals, modern alloys, polymers, and other hard-to-machine materials?will create substantial value by enabling a new generation of manufacturing techniques, products and services, and the businesses to drive these innovations. As a salient example, ultrafast lasers are capable of cutting and shaping bio-absorbable polymers, such as poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), now in development for the next generation of cardiovascular stents. These slowly dissolve in the human body in order to avoid complications from restenosis. PLGA is extraordinarily difficult to machine with conventional lasers?due to melting?or mechanical techniques?due to loss of structural integrity. Other examples include precise, efficient cutting of organic light emitting diode (OLED) substrates and precision thin film removal for high efficiency, large area solar panels. This technology will broadly impact business processes in multiple industries by advancing manufacturing fidelity-to-design and by making obsolete the incumbent defect removal methods such as hot acid etching.


Methods of and devices for forming edge chamfers and through holes and slots on a material that is machined using a laser, such as an ultrafast laser. The shaped material has predetermined and highly controllable geometric shape and/or surface morphology. Further, a method of and a device for preventing re-deposition of the particles on a material that is machined using a laser, such as an ultrafast laser. A fluid is used to wash off the particles generated during the laser machining process. The fluid can be in a non-neutral condition, with one or more chemical salts added, or a condition allowing the coagulation of the particles in the fluid, such that the particles can be precipitated to avoid the reattachment to the machined substrate.


The method of and device for cutting brittle materials with tailored edge shape and roughness are disclosed. The methods can include directing one or more tools to a portion of brittle material causing separation of the material into two or more portions, where the as-cut edge has a predetermined and controllable geometric shape and/or surface morphology. The one or more tools can comprise energy (e.g., a femtosecond laser beam or acoustic beam) delivered to the material without making a physical contact.

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