IMRA has licensed a large portfolio of its patents relating to ultrafast fiber lasers to Toptica. The agreement is said to enhance Toptica's laser development capabilities and facilitate commercialization of fiber laser products from the company, in addition to further recognizing the significance of IMRA's expertise in fiber amplifier and fiber laser research.
"Fiber-based femtosecond lasers are the next major step in ultrafast laser technology," Thomas Renner of Toptica commented to optics.org. "They can provide more wavelength coverage and higher stability compared to existing free-space solid-state ultrafast lasers. Running costs, servicing costs and lifetimes make the technology attractive for applications outside the laboratory in bioscience, applied spectroscopy and for industrial end users."
The agreement enables Toptica to build on its existing FemtoFiber products, which cover a tunable wavelength spectrum between 480 and 2100 nm using supercontinuums in both the visible and infrared spectrum. "Our existing community was demanding ultrafast laser solutions for metrology, spectroscopy and terahertz generation," said Renner. "Key requirements were stable octave-spanning supercontinuums and broad wavelength coverage. Consequently Toptica started fiber laser development in 2003, and now provides various types of femtosecond and picosecond fiber lasers to the scientific and industrial markets."
As the next step in that development, the IMRA agreement will lead to further technological advances. "Continuous wavelength coverage down to the blue region is highly attractive for biophotonics applications for example," Renner pointed out. "Alternatively, the center wavelengths of erbium lasers at 1550 nm or ytterbium at 1030 nm open up new opportunities not already covered by existing solid-state or TiSa lasers."
Both companies said that the deal represents the growing acceptance of ultrafast fiber laser technology. "IMRA has made an enormous investment in fiber amplifier and fiber laser research, and recognizes the importance of intellectual property licensing," said Takashi Omitsu of IMRA.
Toptica believe that the licensed technology will allow ultrafast lasers to be more readily utilized in a range of applications. "Ultrafast fiber laser technology has been perceived as bringing great opportunities but potentially operational problems as well," said Renner. "The main impact of this agreement will be to remove that negative perception."