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Original Press Release

Femtosecond-Laser-Pumped MIR Supercontinuum Source Chosen as Prism Award Finalist

Press release date: January 25, 2017

Newton, NJ - January 25, 2017 - Thorlabs is pleased to announce that its SC4500 Mid Infrared (MIR) Supercontinuum Source is among the finalists for the 2017 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation, an international competition that recognizes the best new photonics technologies.

The SC4500 is the first femtosecond-pumped supercontinuum source on the market. It spans over a wavelength range from approximately 1.3 μm to 4.5 μm (7500 cm-1 to 2200 cm-1 ) and emits more than 300 mW of average output power in a collimated beam. Within this range, the source’s brightness exceeds that of traditional light sources, such as glowbars and even synchrotron sources, by orders of magnitude.

The supercontinuum light is generated by pumping a dispersion-engineered indium fluoride (InF3) fiber with a high power femtosecond fiber laser. Unlike supercontinuum sources pumped in the long-pulse regime (picoseconds to nanoseconds), the spectrum of a femtosecond-pumped source is stable from pulse to pulse. As a result, our supercontinuum source provides output noise of less than 0.025% RMS. The low noise, high brightness, and laser-like beam performance of the SC4500 supercontinuum laser makes it particularly well suited for environmental sensing, biological and chemical threat identification, absorption spectroscopy, and ultrafast spectroscopy applications requiring highly sensitive measurements.

“Thorlabs has been positioning itself as a major player in the Mid-IR market over the last several years through the acquisitions of IRphotonics’ iGuide™ optical fiber solutions, Maxion Technologies Inc., and the QCL Division of Corning as well as through heavily resourced internal R&D efforts. The role-out of the SC4500, which has been developed fully in house, is another important milestone in establishing our footprint in this important, high-growth-potential market,” says Dr. Peter Fendel, Head of Thorlabs’ Laser Division.

Dr. Reza Salem, Head of the Fiber Laser Business unit, adds, “We are excited to bring to market this all-fiber MIR source, which combines multiple key organizational competencies, like soft glass fiber draw and splicing, low noise electronic design, and ultrafast fiber laser design expertise.”

The supercontinuum source will be featured in Thorlabs’ Photonics West Booth (#1701) within the MIR technologies demonstration and will be available for purchase in early spring. Our Applications and Design Engineers are looking forward to engaging in conversations with individual researches as well as OEM integrators about this unique source during Photonics West.

About Thorlabs:

Thorlabs, a vertically integrated photonics products manufacturer, was founded in 1989 to serve the laser and electro-optics research market. As that market has spawned a multitude of technical innovations, Thorlabs has extended its core competencies in an effort to play an ever increasing role serving the Photonics Industry at the research end, as well as the industrial, life science, medical, and defense segments. The organization’s highly integrated and diverse manufacturing assets include semiconductor fabrication of laser diodes, optical amplifiers, lithium niobate modulators, quantum cascade/interband cascade lasers, and VCSEL lasers; fiber towers for drawing glass optical fibers (silica, fluoride, tellurite, and hollow core); MBE/MOCVD epitaxial wafer growth reactors; extensive glass and metal fabrication facilities; advanced thin film deposition capabilities; and optomechanical and optoelectronic shops.


Laurie Morgus

Marketing Communications Manager

Thorlabs, Inc.



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