FINISAR SHOW PREVIEW: Photonics West 2016

Off again next week to the annual Photonics West extravaganza at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. With over 20,000 attendees, 1,250 exhibiting companies, and 4,700 technical papers on everything from biophotonics, through industrial lasers to display technologies, Photonics West now dwarfs the other major optical communications conferences.

It was not always thus, and in the days of the Telecom Bubble of the late ‘90s, when too many exhibitors was barely enough, OFC was THE place to be if you could even spell “Photonics”. I was reminded of this recently when I unearthed the following cartoon, originally published on www.thevc.com in 2000, which sums up the madness of the time quite nicely.
VC35.0
Returning to the present, Photonics West has the usual raft of academic papers in search of the holy grail of optical health monitoring – non-invasive glucose monitoring. There is a great backgrounder on just how much time and effort has been spent on the pursuit of this noble, but highly elusive, goal, in the e-book The pursuit of non-invasive glucose: “Hunting the deceitful turkey” by John Smith. If you have any interest in this area whatsoever, this book is highly recommended.

From the Finisar perspective, we’ll be showing how you can generate fully-controllable psec and fsec pulses or pulse trains using our WaveShaper 1000/SP for 1µm in conjunction with the psec fiber laser from Southern Photonics and an A·P·E Autocorrelator. To quote Prof John Harvey, CEO of Southern Photonics, “Finisar’s WaveShaper 1000/SP product provides a definitive solution for the growing requirements of ultra-fast pulse-shaping. The flexibility and scalability of this elegant technology add a new dimension to what is possible in ultra-fast lasers for machining and bio-medical applications.” Be sure to visit our booth 4242 at the show for a live demonstration.

Finisar subsidiary LightSmyth Technologies will be showing their breakthrough low cost diffractive optics and lens arrays, also at booth 4242. These allow for arbitrary beamshaping and wavefront transformation to produce lenses, vortex phase plates, axicons, beamsplitters, pattern generators, computer generated holograms and other optical components. Multiple optical functions may be combined on a single optical surface of a glass or fused silica substrate and no organic materials are used. The advantages are low cost, wafer scale mass volume production capability, high performance, high power damage threshold and environmental stability. For more details, read the press release.

All of these, plus our range of high-speed detectors and receivers with bandwidths up to 100 GHz, will be on display at our booth next week at Photonics West in San Francisco.

See you there!

Finisar and LightSmyth at Photonics West 2015

Happy New Year to all our blog readers!

If you hadn’t heard, next week is the annual SPIE Photonics West extravaganza at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. With over 20,000 attendees, 1,250 exhibiting companies, and 4,700 technical papers on a variety of topics from biophotonics, through industrial lasers to display technologies, Photonics West dwarfs the major optical communications conferences like OFC and ECOC. Finisar will be co-exhibiting with LightSmyth, a world leader in diffraction gratings, in booth 4212, February 10th-12th.

This year Finisar will be showcasing its expanding WaveShaper™ product family. The WaveShaper instrument was derived from our line of LCoS-based Wavelength Selective Switches and has achieved great success in research labs and production lines associated with the optical communications industry.

In addition, we found that some of our customers were using these instruments to develop novel designs of short-pulse erbium-doped fibre lasers, where the ability of the WaveShaper to control both the phase and amplitude of the light was used to control the laser pulse shape and duration. Their early feedback (in addition to the fact that this was cool, great technology) was that, for stability, mode-locked fibre lasers are generally built with polarization-maintaining fibre and that the WaveShaper instrument, being polarization-independent, was causing instabilities which affected the laser performance. We therefore re-engineered the optical design of the WaveShaper and developed our WaveShaper 1000/SP model, which was a single-polarization version of the WaveShaper 1000. This overcame the instability problem and has now been adopted by researchers and laser manufacturers to control pulse-shapes at 1.5µm.

Subsequently, we have been approached by other researchers and manufacturers working with Ytterbium and Neodymium fibre lasers around 1µm to see if we can build something similar to work at this shorter wavelength. We have now done this and are launching our new WaveShaper 1000/SP for 1µm at this Photonics West trade show. Providing the same amplitude and phase control capabilities as its 1.5µm older brother, the WaveShaper 1000S/SP pulse shaper for 1µm is a single-polarization, fully-fibered pulse shaper, complete with its own GUI (for ease of use) and programming API (for system integration).

In addition to the pulse control capabilities of the WaveShaper 1000/SP, Finisar also supplies the world’s highest quality pulse-compression gratings through its LightSmyth subsidiary. With > 94% diffraction efficiency optimized for linear p-polarization, LightSmyth gratings provide exceptional power-handling and performance as well as minimizing optical losses in the system, which is especially critical for high energy lasers.

All of these, plus our range of Finisar high-speed detectors, with bandwidths up to 100 GHz, will be on display next week at the Photonics West Trade Show.

See you there!