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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2013-1 | Award Amount: 1.95M | Year: 2013

There is a strong pull for practical ultrafast laser sources from a magnitude of applications and associated markets. These applications often demand systems with high reliability and maintenance-/alignment-free operation while at the same time, be highly adaptable to cater the numerous requirements imposed by the specific application. One of the key issues that prevent state-of-the-art ultrafast lasers offering such capabilities is their intrinsic complexity which often causes the requirement of intervention from highly skilled engineers and makes implementation of ultrafast technology into demanding applications outside research laboratories almost impossible. MiniMods aims to address these short comings by developing miniaturised laser diagnostic tools and frequency conversion modules that are small enough to be integrated directly into the optical heads of ultrafast lasers and synchronously-pumped optical parametric oscillators. These modules will not only add direct readouts of key performance (e.g. pulse duration, spectrum, beam quality) and functionality but will also offer the ability to use adaptive control loops to control the laser performance parameters to unprecedented accuracy. This will negate the need for any user intervention when operating these systems, thereby making them suitable for a wide range of real world applications. While there are various ultrafast diagnostic tools on the market already, these are generally very expensive and bulky apparatus that dont lend themselves for integration into fully engineered systems. MiniMods will overcome this by exploiting a series of new technological concepts developed by the consortium to realise autocorrelators, beam quality detectors, spectrometers, compressors and third harmonic generators. In this context, cost effectiveness and a highly compact form are paramount factors to ensure that these systems can be utilized as a main stream component in future generations of ultrafast oscillators.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: FoF-ICT-2013.7.2 | Award Amount: 14.01M | Year: 2013

During more than 50 years of the laser existence, they have been proved as the unique tool for diverse material processing application. New application ideas, coming from universities and research institutions, are usually implemented by spin-off companies with limited resources for market penetration. Research laboratories are using universal laser tools, while effective and low-cost production requires adaptation of the processes and equipment during the technology assessment by the end-user.\nThe APPOLO project seeks to establish and coordinate connections between the end-users, which have demand on laser technologies for (micro)fabrication, knowledge accumulated in the application laboratories of the research institutes, as well as universities and the laser equipment manufacturers (preferable SMEs) of novel lasers, beam control and guiding, etc. The goal is to facilitate faster validation of the process feasibility and adaptation of the equipment for manufacturing, as well as assessment of the selected production processes. The core of the consortium comprises laser application laboratories around Europe which are connected into a virtual hub to accumulate knowledge and infrastructure and promote the easy-to-access environment for the development and validation of laser-based technologies. All the partners have chosen a few directions for the assessment of novel laser technologies: in ultra-short pulse laser scribing for monolithic interconnections in thin film CIGS solar cells - from lasers to pilot lines; use of the lasers and intelligent scanning in smart surface texturing for automotive and printing/decoration industries and for 3D flexible electronics.\nImplementation of the APPOLO project will help the partners from European photonics industry to preserve their competitiveness and penetrate new niches on the global market. The equipment builders for automotive, photovoltaics, electronics and printing industries will benefit from faster integration of innovative technologies which will provide the new-quality consumer products, including low-cost and high-efficiency solar cells, comfortable interior and functionality of cars, smart sensors for environmental monitoring and more.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP-2008-4.0-4 | Award Amount: 15.74M | Year: 2009

The LIFT project will establish international leadership for Europe in the science, application and production technologies for material processing by fibre lasers through the development of innovative laser sources. Major advances beyond the state of the art are planned: The cold-ablation fibre laser, based on ultra-short pulses, will open an entirely new market (100 mill. p.a.) for laser processing of ceramics. The extreme high-power fibre laser will enlarge the EUV lithography market (500 mill. p.a.) to include fibre lasers. The visible RGB fibre laser will produce the first high-brilliance source for laser projection displays (15 mill. p.a.). New future-oriented manufacturing tools based on higher-power pulsed fibre lasers (80 mill. p.a.). The high-reliability laser for large-scale manufacturing with High Speed Laser Remote Processing - means a new level of performance for 2kWatt materials-processing lasers with raised MTBF to 50.000 hours (accessible market 1 bill. p.a.). The Horizontal integration and networking in Europes high brilliance laser industry in this project will enable a greater market share for existing applications, create new areas of exploitation for manufacturing, and build a European network of component suppliers, laser manufacturers, universities and research institutes. As a result, LIFT will cause the following results to emerge: 1. Europe would take advantage of novel laser sources to be employed for various processing applications, many of which cannot even be treated by todays lasers. 2. European companies will benefit by the exploitation of the knowledge by the LIFT consortium in the field of fibre lasers, thus creating new markets and improving productivity in existing ones, thus building the competitiveness and the technological role of Europe; 3. The society as a whole would benefit from the results of LIFT, because in many sectors the further development of laser processing is crucial for the improvement of the quality

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2011.3.5 | Award Amount: 4.54M | Year: 2011

2-micron fibre laser technology has the potential to open a whole new area of ICT & industrial applications. The well-known power scaling advantages, from increased core size & higher non-linear thresholds, offer a tenfold increase in raw power compared with current 1-micron technology. Simultaneously, a host of applications specific to this almost unexplored region of the eye-safe spectrum become possible, including: industrial processing, free-space communications & 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 fibre technology has advanced, providing a solid base for development; 2) All-fibre component technology offers integrated functionality; 3) Better isolator materials and new designs offer realistic potential for effective 2-micron devices; 4) New modulator materials & designs allow Q-switches, filters & switches; 5) Carbon nanotube composites offer effective sub-ps modelockers; 6) 790nm diode technology is ripe for development, for optimum direct pumping of Tm. ISLA will seize this opportunity to develop a set of building blocks to define an integrated modular common platform for 2-micron Ho-doped fibre lasers consisting of compatible and self-consistent fibre, components and laser diodes. Not only will advances beyond the state-of-the-art in each of these component areas be achieved, but this will be attained through a coordinated program to deliver a genuinely integrated technology platform. Continuous wave, pulsed and short pulse lasers will be demonstrated through industrial applications (transparent plastic cutting and PV cell scribing). An industrial user group will identify new applications and aid exploitation routes, and the project results will be promoted within recognised standards bodies to benefit the whole of EU industry

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2007.3.5 | Award Amount: 13.65M | Year: 2008

FAST-DOT aims to implement a new range of ultrafast quantum-dot lasers for critical bio-medical applications. This project will develop portable, low-cost, reliable, highly efficient ultrashort pulse and ultra-broadband tuneable laser sources. The key technical innovation quantum dots (QDs) - are based on novel semiconductor nanostructure clusters which demonstrate remarkable new photonic properties. QD structures will afford major advances in ultrafast science and technology by exploiting the unique combination of QD properties (high optical quality, efficient light generation, ultrafast carrier dynamics and broadband gain bandwidth) at wavelength range which not easily accessible with current technologies. The FAST-DOT consortium brings together a unique and compelling group of world-leaders in the physics of QDs and QD photonic devices, system integrators and biophotonic. This research will realise a full understanding of the underlying ultrafast properties and physics of QD structures and exploit these effects in the construction of novel highly compact, reliable and environmentally-stable sources of ultra-short pulses. The new QD sources will be investigated and validated in a range of bio-photonic applications including OCT; Non-linear Microscopy; Nanosurgery and minimally invasive diagnostics. The availability of compact and inexpensive ultrashort pulse lasers will have widespread impact in uptake by making many applications more affordable and opening up new application areas. The project unites 18 complementary European research groups and companies with international reputations in the development of semiconductor materials and their use in efficient ultra-fast lasers, related applications and marketing. All of the groups have record of collaboration and a strong record in producing high quality results and joint publications. This programme will contribute to further extending Europes world-leading position of in photonics and ultrafast technology.

News Article | February 24, 2017

A group of researchers from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw has just published the results of their works on miniature device - a tripler - for generating femtosecond laser pulses in the UV. Not only does the device has three times higher efficiency than previously used setups, but also fits on a finger tip, thanks to using a unique software package, developed in Warsaw, during the design stage. Although with new technologies lasers cover more and more spectral regions, some wavelengths are still not easily accessible. This includes the ultraviolet (UV) band around 300 nm, especially if short pulse durations and/or high intensities are needed. Often, UV pulses are generated via nonlinear processes such as second harmonic generation or sum frequency generation where new photons with higher energy and a new color are formed by summing up energy of the fundamental pulse photons. The efficiency of this processes, that allows near infrared laser pulses to be converted into UV is, however, very small. For many years, analytical light propagation models or simple numerical simulations were used to design frequency converters. They allowed scientists to tweak different device parameters, typically one at a time. This approach resulted in the conversion efficiencies from un-amplified infrared femtosecond lasers to the UV third harmonic to stagnate at around 10%. - It was like coming to the lab, tweaking one knob here, one knob there, while looking at the UV output power and trying to maximize it. And 10% is as good as one can get with this approach - says Michal Nejbauer, from the team of researchers based at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw, Poland. But increasing computational power available, combined with clever programming tricks allowed for the global optimization of the frequency conversion process from infrared to UV to be used for the first time. - Our newly developed, open-source simulation package - called Hussar - allows even an inexperienced user to build a complex, 3-dimensional, accurate simulations of multiple pulse propagation and interaction using simple blocks: input pulse parameters, material properties of the media and the processes involved - explains Tomasz Kardas, who developed the software - Once we define the input pulse parameters, such as energy, duration and spatial beam profile, we essentially start searching for the best design over a large space of parameters: the nonlinear crystal thicknesses, the beam size, the beam waist position, etc. And, to our surprise, once we found these optimum values, built the device and measured its performance, the output UV pulses were exactly as simulated. This kind of quantitative agreement between what one gets on the screen and then measures in the lab is rather uncommon in nonlinear optics. But increasing the tripling process efficiency by a factor of three, to above 30%, was just the first step. The researchers also aimed at miniaturization - rather than using multiple components mounted on the laboratory table, their third harmonic generator (tripler) is just a tiny block of crystals stacked together. - In fact, the 1-inch metal holder that keeps all the elements together is the biggest part of the whole setup - explains Pawel Wnuk , who took leading role in the device characterization experiments. As a result, the tripler prototype has the overall volume around 1000 times smaller than the traditional, previously used designs. The miniature frequency tripler was developed within the MINIMODS consortium, coordinated by Glasgow-based M Squared Lasers LTD, made up of industry partners Laseroptik (Germany), Radiant Light (Spain) and Time-Bandwidth Products (Switzerland). Research partners include the University of Warsaw (Poland) and the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (UK). The project, running between 2013-2015 and supported through the EC's Seventh Framework Programme FP7-SME, aimed to address barriers to expansion and innovation within the photonics industry, with focus on creating cost-efficient, compact tools and devices for integration into laser systems. - Working in close collaboration with industrial partners was a new, interesting experience. We have learned a lot about how they approach research and product development - says Piotr Wasylczyk, who was the project principal investigator at the University of Warsaw. - I am not sure if they learned a lot from us, but the feedback we got from them on what we did and how was very positive. The tripler works results are published this week in Scientific Reports (22/02/2017). Physics and Astronomy first appeared at the University of Warsaw in 1816, under the then Faculty of Philosophy. In 1825 the Astronomical Observatory was established. Currently, the Faculty of Physics' Institutes include Experimental Physics, Theoretical Physics, Geophysics, Department of Mathematical Methods and an Astronomical Observatory. Research covers almost all areas of modern physics, on scales from the quantum to the cosmological. The Faculty's research and teaching staff includes ca. 200 university teachers, of which 88 are employees with the title of professor. The Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, is attended by ca. 1000 students and more than 170 doctoral students. "Full 3D modeling of pulse propagation enables efficient nonlinear frequency conversion with low energy laser pulses in a single-element tripler"; Tomasz M. Kardas, Michal Nejbauer, Pawel Wnuk, Bojan Resan, Czeslaw Radzewicz and Piotr Wasylczyk; Sci. Rep. (2017) http://www. Press office of the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw. FUW170224b_fot01s.jpg HR: http://www. Miniature tripler (in the silver mirror mount) generates intense blue and ultraviolet laser pulses form focused beam of infrared light (Source: UW Physics, Radoslaw Chrapkiewicz) Movie showing the three laser pulses propagating in the linear and nonlinear crystals of the miniature tripler (3D simulation results): http://ufs.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IIF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2009-IIF | Award Amount: 238.48K | Year: 2010

This proposal aims to research and develop a novel tunable ultrafast pulse laser source for use in biomedical applications. Covering the wavelength range from 400 nm to over 1650 nm, and delivering compressed pulses as short as sub-30 fs, the realisation of such a laser source will advance the state-of-the-art by achieving the combination of two key features, high-power and low-noise, which is not achievable using other current approaches. The research approach is to exploit the latest developments in solid-state lasers combined with recent advances in fiber technologies providing a new high-performance architecture. Saturable semiconductor absorber devices acting as nonlinear mirrors (SESAMs) will mode-lock an efficient solid-state ultrafast oscillator to provide compact, robust, low-noise, multi-Watt level seed pulses. Broadband tunability will be obtained via supercontinuum generation in novel microstructured fibers. This new architecture combines synergistically the skills of the host institute (stable SESAM-based lasers) and the researcher (ultrashort pulse generation, manipulation, and control). Within the project, I plan to explore biomedical applications of this novel laser technology in microscopy imaging, nanosurgery, and dentistry in collaboration with international EU partners. These laser sources are likely to have many additional applications outside of the biomedical market. The work will be performed by a researcher from USA with more than 10 years of experience in ultrafast lasers; the last 4 years were with the Ultrafast group at Coherent Inc., an established world leading commercial supplier of ultrafast lasers, and previously 5 years within the College of Optics - CREOL, in the internationally-recognized group of Prof Peter Delfyett. The researcher will be hosted by Time-Bandwidth Products AG at Zurich, Switzerland, a pioneering SME in robust, reliable, high-power, low-noise SESAM mode-locked ultrafast solid-state lasers.

Time-Bandwidth Products | Date: 2013-09-25

Lasers not for medical use. Lasers for medical use.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.93M | Year: 2012

A fundamental property of lasers is the ability to propagate and be focused to very small spots with little divergence, termed beam quality. The ability to achieve high power low divergence operation (high brightness) is of paramount importance for many applications, both existing and potential, of laser devices. Effective ways to scale output power without compromising beam quality are limited and often lead to increased complexity and reduced flexibility and efficiency. The main problem hindering laser brightness scaling is heat generation, which leads to a spatial variation in temperature, internal stresses in the laser materials and consequent deterioration in laser quality. The HiCORE project proposes an innovative approach, based on recently published observations, to the key problems associated with the power and brightness scaling of bulk solid-state lasers using Conical Refraction (CR). CR laser devices represent a novel way to mitigate thermal management issues and improve beam quality while reducing cost, complexity and size, all key drivers of competitive advantage in almost every laser market sector. The 5 SME partners have come together to define the research required to enable a supply chain to be formed and advance this exciting technology to market. The RTD performers have been selected as the research leaders in this novel line of photonics to carry out the research necessary property of lasers is the ability to propagate and be focused to very small spots with little divergence, termed beam quality. The ability to achieve high power low divergence operation (high brightness) is of paramount importance for many applications, both existing and potential, of laser devices. HiCORE results can be expected to reinforce Europes lead in photonics and enable the SMEs to profit from exploitation of the IP they will acquire.

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