KMLabs’s Ultrafast Amplifier for Nanoscience Applications Wins CLEO/Laser Focus World Innovation Award

The CLEO: 2013 co-sponsors (APS, IEEE Photonics Society, OSA) and Laser Focus World today announced KMLabs (Kapteyn-Murnane Laboratories) as the winner of this year’s CLEO/Laser Focus World Innovation Award.

The Wyvern-HE. Photo courtesy KMLabs.

The award recognizes the company "for the development of the Wyvern-HE: A smaller, single-stage, single-pump Ti:sapphire ultrafast amplifier delivering performance (9mJ at 1kHz, with adjustable repetition rate) that has historically only been possible with much larger and more expensive multi-stage designs." KMLabs will accept the award at the CLEO Plenary Session Tuesday, June 11 at 8 a.m. in the San Jose Civic Auditorium.

KMLabs says the motivation for the Wyvern-HE was provided by researchers at JILA, a joint institute of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, who needed high-energy pulses with excellent beam quality to pump an Optical Parametric Amplifier (OPA). Multi-millijoule, OPA pulses in the 1.3 - 2µm range could then be used to generate ultrafast, coherent, high harmonic x-rays for a host of applications in nano and molecular science. Additional applications include fundamental materials and surface science, attosecond science, pump-probe studies in chemistry and physics, and imaging and spectroscopy applications.

The Wyvern-HE design uses proprietary cryogenic cooling and regenerative amplification well beyond today’s commercial norms, which allow it to achieve performance levels unmatched by competitive offerings. It provides an unprecedented pulse energy specification of more than 9 mJ with less than 45 fs pulse duration at a 1 kHz repetition rate, again using a single, compact regenerative amplification stage. Competitive single-stage amplifiers currently offer up to 5 mJ pulse energies compared to 9 mJ from the Wyvern-HE. The peak power of the pulses in this system can reach as high as 0.2 TW, a new record peak power for output directly from a single-stage amplifier. Additionally, because of the simple design and reduced components, the new system is 50 percent smaller and 40 percent less expensive than current multi-stage ultrafast amplifier systems performing at the same level. According to KMLabs, further innovations in the Wyvern-HE series are possible as qualified pump lasers become available.

“The Wyvern-HE continues our push to lead the industry with state-of-the-art performance, while simultaneously simplifying systems for the scientists doing the work. For broader appeal, as these systems become more powerful, they must also become more flexible, user-friendly and reliable,” said Henry Kapteyn, founder and CEO of KMLabs. “KMLabs greatly appreciates the relationship we’ve had over the years with OSA, APS and the IEEE. Our plan is to continue making exciting new products that will lead to exciting new discoveries for the researchers in those societies.”

In addition to KMLabs’ winning entry, three other products will be recognized during the CLEO Plenary Session with honorable mentions:

  • Femtolasers Produktions GmbH
    First portable ultrafast Ti:Sapphire laser for biomedical applications
    For the development of the INTEGRALTM CoreTM, the smallest commercially available sub-8 fs ultrafast Ti:Sapphire laser delivering 200 mW average power with 300 MHz pulse repetition rate for Terahertz, multiphoton microscopy, OCT, and spectroscopy applications.
  • Princeton Instruments
    IsoPlane next-generation, aberration-free spectrograph
    For the development of the IsoPlane SCT 320 Schmidt-Czerny-Turner spectrograph that overcomes the limitations of traditional Czerny-Turner designs by totally eliminating field astigmatism and greatly reducing coma and spherical aberration.
  • TAG Optics
    TAG Lens 2.0: Using sound to shape light
    For the development of an ultra-high-speed varifocal lens that can extend the depth-of-field of conventional optical systems and enable user-selected focal lengths in micro-seconds through acoustic refractive-index changes.

"The CLEO/Laser Focus World Innovation Awards recognize some of the most exciting, cutting-edge technologies in the laser and electro-optics industry today," said Conard Holton, editor-in-chief, Laser Focus World. “This year we saw a notable increase in the number of submissions and the selection process was highly competitive. The products being honored by CLEO and Laser Focus World provide us a glimpse of the potential future of the field. We’d like to congratulate the honorable mentions and KMLabs on their award-winning ultrafast amplifier."

The annual CLEO/Laser Focus World Innovation Awards Program honors the most timely, ground-breaking products in the field of laser science. Designed to showcase some of the most significant new products in the field, Innovation Award entries are evaluated on criteria critical to product success, such as innovation, functionality and life expectancy.

For more information on the CLEO/Laser Focus World Innovation Awards, visit the CLEO: 2013 website.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A photo of the Wyvern-HE is available to members of the media upon request. Contact Angela Stark, [email protected].


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