Tunable Polymer Rod Laser for the 1-1.1 micron region

Period of Performance: 05/03/2001 - 11/03/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sentel Technologies, LLC
1610 NE Eastgate Blvd
Pullman, WA 99163
Principal Investigator


The goal of this project is for the development of an economical compact tunable CW laser for the 1-1.1 micron wavelength region based on ytterbium (Yb3+) doped polymers. Through its novel polymer monolith and fiber technologies, Sentel Technologies is capable of producing both CW and pulsed tunable lasers with high output powers and substantial cost savings relative to current systems. The proposed Phase I work will emphasize the commercial realization of inexpensive access to the 1-1.1 micron region. Many of the techniques used with Yag laser systems can be used with our laser systems, i.e. through the use of KDP crystals the output frequency can be doubled. This will allow for tunability from 500nm to 550nm. We will concentrate on demonstrating lasing in a Yb doped polymer and will build on promising preliminary results already obtained for selected Yb systems. Preliminary extension of the work to other lasing centers that operate in different wavelength regions will also be performed. It is anticipated that the knowledge gained during the Phase I research will facilitate the construction of lasers that will offer inexpensive tunability over wavelength ranges throughout the visible and infrared.Communications Industry Researchers (CIR), an optical industry consulting firm predicts the US tunable laser market will grow from 5 million this year to 1.2 Billion by 2004. They further state that this is an area that is already being exploited by Nortel and Lucent, but is also an area where innovative start-ups such as Iolon appear. CIR says that it expects to see more such start-ups appear over the next 12 months. The market for tunable lasers in the 1.0-1.1 micron range is initially estimated to be between 500 and 5000 devices annually, based on supplier and user demand to construct prototype serial and parallel optical links and examine the technology. In time, the technology could become ubiquitous and provide a share equivalent to 100,000s of devices per year. Obviously, access to the harmonics of 1-1.1micron and other laser wavelengths through the use of other laser centers will only increase the number of device sold per year. Some of the potential uses for the laser include remote sensing, trace gas measurement, Ramen and UV fluorescence, spectroscopy, laser cooling, chemical analysis, particle image velocimetry, photodynamic therapy and other medical applications. Many more applications will appear given inexpensive access to this spectrum.