Innovative Technologies Light-Up Photonics

Fibre, the biggest laser segment, now accounts for more than 45 percent of all patents filed. Fibre has gained the share, in part, because it can focus the beam size down to the micro-level and generates more power in a smaller package than CO2 does.

Fremont, CA : Laser technology has continuously evolved since its inception, with two eras of innovation behind it. While through the 1970s and 1980s, researchers made important discoveries in core laser physics that furthered the use of technology, many applications were restricted to scientific, laboratory, and R&D settings. Meanwhile, many new laser tools, such as in surgery, lithography, and welding, emerged at this time, enabling breakthroughs in segments ranging from healthcare to electronics to industrial manufacturing.

Currently, the focus of the domain is moving towards some of the most important laser technologies, such as fibre, diode, solid-state, carbon dioxide (CO2), excimer, and quantum cascade. Fibre, the biggest laser segment, now accounts for more than 45 percent of all patents filed. Fibre has gained the share, in part, because it can focus the beam size down to the micro-level and generates more power in a smaller package than CO2 does. It thus enables optimal speed and precision for cutting metal and welding, among other uses. Fibre has also enabled novel medical uses, especially for dermatology procedures.

Although quantum-cascade lasers have faced significant development obstacles over the past 20 years, their efficacy and wavelength range have opened the door to new innovations in medical diagnostics, optical communications, and industrial-process governance. Carefully integrated optic, laser, and sensor technologies—especially for power, wavelength, and optical design—is crucial for their success.

In addition to increasing the number of potential processes, optics and sensors can also take laser performance to a new level. For instance, integrated devices are already vital to optical-coherence tomography, a non-invasive procedure for taking 2D and 3D images of retinal tissue. To identify the full potential of integrated laser-based systems, the need to first examine the precision optics and photonic-sensor sectors is further needed. Looking at core technologies, recent growth, and go-forward adoptions, it seems that both markets will thrive and that the growth in coordinated laser tools will expand their use to higher levels