Trumpf acquires minority stake in developer of optical fibre for USP laser processing
Laser manufacturer Trumpf has acquired a minority stake in French startup GLOphotonics, a developer and manufacturer of special optical fibres for use in ultrafast laser processing.
GLOphotonics recently told Laser Systems Europe that it has developed the first fibre optic capable of delivering ultrashort laser pulses of high energy and high average power – a feat previously proven challenging due to the exotic nature of ultrashort pulses preventing them from being coupled into conventional glass fibres.
As a result, the majority of today’s ultrafast laser systems generally use an array of mirrors and lenses to direct the pulses to the workpiece, a method that is both extremely complex and costly.
Unlike conventional optical fibres, however, GLOphotonics’ fibres are 'hollow core', meaning that light travels through them via either a vacuum, air or another gas. The vacuum and materials involved enable the fibres to control the exotic, non-linearity effects of ultrashort pulses, meaning integrators now have the option to deliver them to a workpiece in a flexible manner.
GLOphotonics’ hollow-core photonic crystal fibres enable ultrashort pulses to be transported without the need for complex mirror beam delivery paths
‘The hollow-core fibre opens up new technical avenues for machine makers and system integrators,’ confirmed Berthold Schmidt, managing director of research and development in Trumpf’s Laser Technology division. ‘Compared to free-beam delivery, it offers a much simpler and more flexible way of guiding laser light from a pulsed beam source to its destination. This greatly simplifies processes on the shop floor.’
Trumpf intends its investment to support the ongoing development of GLOphotonics’ technology, and help the firm make it industry-ready.
Ultrfast laser manufacturer Amplitude, a long-time investor in GLOphotonics, has already integrated the firm's innovative fibre into its FIBER module.
In a press release welcoming Trumpf as new partners of GLOphotonics, the firm said: 'Amplitude believes in the power of collaboration and openness in the photonics industry, and is looking forward to working with its new partners to bring this new technology to the market.'