Thorlabs and BMC Joined Forces to Bring Deformable Mirrors to Photonics Research

Thorlabs Inc. a Newton, N.J.-based developer of laser and fiber optic systems, and Boston Micromachines Corp. (BMC) of Watertown, Mass., have announced a partnership to enable BMC, a provider of advanced MEMS (microelectromechanical systems)-based mirror products, to bring its deformable mirrors to photonics research.

"This wide exposure will create diverse market opportunities and encourage the creation of new products incorporating adaptive optics technology," the companies said in a statement. They also announced that Alex Cable, president and founder of Thorlabs, has joined BMC's board of directors, has invested in the company, and will be an advisor to BMC.

Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute developed an adaptive scanning optical microscope (ASOM) that uses BMC's technology and was licensed by Thorlabs earlier this year -- the first commercially available adaptive optics instrument.

The new partnership is "an evolutionary next step for the commercialization of adaptive optics technology," Cable said.

Paul Bierden, president of BMC, said, "This partnership is a signal to the industry that adaptive optics is now ready for prime time."

Adaptive optics, a relatively new technology, is typically used in astronomy to reduce atmospheric distortion. It also has applications in retinal imaging, microscopy and laser communications.

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