Photonics innovations reach focal point

31 Jan 2019 Sponsored by Physics World Buyers Guide
A glass microfluidic flow cell manufactured by IMT AG
A glass microfluidic flow cell the size of a microscope slide manufactured by IMT AG

Some 20,000 optical scientists and engineers will be converging in San Francisco at the beginning of February for SPIE’s Photonics West and BIOS events. With two extensive exhibitions of the latest optics-based technologies, plus four international conferences covering optoelectronics, laser technologies, biomedical optics, and the emerging field of artificial and virtual reality, Photonics West has become the flagship event for the optics and laser industry. It has also become the place where many exhibitors launch their latest product innovations, some of which are highlighted below.

Glass flow cells enable optics-based gene sequencing

Customized microfluidic flow cells for next-generation gene sequencing (NGS) are now available from IMT AG, a Swiss company that specializes in precision glass manufacturing. NGS exploits massively parallel processes to enable rapid identification of gene sequences, which makes it popular for applications ranging from personalized medicine to detecting microbial food contaminants.

Many NGS techniques rely on fluorescence or other optical effects, in which case glass flow cells remain the technology of choice. IMT, one of the pioneers in fabricating glass microfluidic devices and biochips, now offers an automated and scalable production service for complex, multilayer microfluidic flow cells designed for various life-sciences applications – including protein, DNA and cell handling and analysis.

Schematic of a glass microfluidic structure

IMT can fabricate complete NGS flow cells to custom dimensions, layouts and biofunctionalized patterns. Flow cells can be created with micrometer or sub-micrometer feature sizes, making it possible to create patterned flow cells that increase the density of the sequencing space, reaching the optical resolution limit of fluorescent imaging systems. All the cells are sealed without disrupting the biofunctionalization.

Each customer can define the specific binding chemistry needed for their process, turning the generic platform into a customer-specific microfluidic solution. Such a flexible approach offers an effective route for outsourcing the fabrication of microfluidic cells, rather than introducing complex in-house production.

Find out more by visiting IMT at Booth #8443 at BIOS or Booth #443 at Photonics West

Hyperspectral technology sets new benchmark

A next-generation hyperspectral camera from Finnish company Senop combines rapid imaging speeds with high-resolution imaging. The firm claims that the HSC-2 camera, which makes its first appearance at this year’s Photonics West, sets a new benchmark in the evolution of hyperspectral imaging.

The HSC-2, which builds on Senop’s first-generation instrument, exploits state-of-the-art Fabry-Perot interferometer technology. The new camera can take up to 149 spectral frames per second, and offers up to 1000 freely selectable bands to provide a true spectral response in each pixel – without the need for any interpolation.

“Our clear target was to take a leap in hyperspectral technology and create a golden standard that can be used in any research field or commercial application,” says Aki Korhonen, Senop’s CEO. “The HSC-2 is a versatile tool that could revolutionize many applications, ranging from smart agriculture to the food industry or medical clinics.”

You can find Senop at Photonics West at Booth #5381, while the company’s Jussi Rautiainen will be giving a presentation about the HSC-2 at 3.00pm on 5 February 2019 in Demo Area 2 (Hall E North)

Laser system delivers quantum prowess

A powerful laser system for cutting-edge experiments in quantum physics has been released by NKT Photonics, based in Denmark. The Koheras HARMONIK system exploits a frequency-converted design to deliver powers of up to 7 W, along with ultralow phase noise and narrow linewidth at 775–780 nm – which makes it ideal for ultracold atom applications.

The Koheras HARMONIK laser system

The HARMONIK system has been designed for demanding techniques in quantum optics, such as Doppler laser cooling of atoms, optical trapping and producing squeezed light, as well high-precision laser interferometry and spectroscopy. The system features an all-fibre, maintenance-free design. The rugged, air-cooled package allows to handle 24/7 operation in laboratories as well as in industrial environments.

“With this very stable frequency-doubled system, we open up for a wide range of experiments within cutting-edge quantum physics”, says Søren Løvgreen, product line manager for the Koheras series. “The ultralow phase noise and relative intensity noise is particularly important for atom-trapping experiments but has many other applications in areas such as metrology and LIDAR.”

NKT Photonics will be exhibiting at BIOS at Booth #8633 and at Photonics West at Booth #633

An Italian approach to CO2 lasers

The Italian laser manufacturer El.En. is a pioneer in the development of rechargeable CO2laser sources. Unlike conventional CO2 lasers, the company’s Blade Self-Refilling lasers are equipped with a special slot in which to insert the CO2 gas-mix cylinder, allowing an operator to easily replace the cylinder and regenerate the laser source in just a few seconds.

The laser sources in the Blade Self-Refilling series also have one of the highest energy efficiency in their category, with power options ranging from 350 to 1200W. All versions of come in the same form factor to simplify the engineering of different models with different power solutions.

The Blade-Self-Refilling laser

As well as its wide range of CO2 lasers, El.En. also supplies a series of high-performance laser-scanning heads. These include the Gioscan series of galvo motors that offer the fast acceleration needed to provide an immediate and precise response in all beam steering applications. As an independent producer, El.En. offers full technical assistance as well as the ability to build customized solutions for specific applications.