World Wide Welfare:
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Partner 10 - Institute National d’Optique (INO)
Institute National d’Optique (INO) is a private, non-profit corporation founded in 1985. Over one hundred seventy-five (175) people are currently employed at its facilities in Sainte-Foy (Québec, Canada), a majority of them being engineers and technologists specialized in various branches of photonics.
INO’s technological activities are grouped into three sectors: Microoptics and Microsystems (MOMS), Photonics, Fibres and Lasers (PFL) and Applied Optical Systems (AOS).
INO’s activities cover: Laser Technologies, Industrial Vision & 3D Sensors, Laser Micromachining, Telecom & Space Optics, Specialty Optical Fibers, Artificial Vision, Biophotonics, Bolometers, Fiber Sensors, MEMS, Microoptics, Optical Coatings, Optical Design.
Working in close partnership with industry, INO is a world class center of expertise in optics and photonics assisting companies in improving their competitive edge and developing their business. INO ensures its growth by creating intellectual property and drawing value from it through research and development contracts, fabrication of prototypes, volume production, and technology transfer.
Activities in WWW.BRIGHT-EU
INO is involved in the development of microoptics for fibre coupling of High Brightness Laser Diode (HBLD) bars into small diameter fibres.
Due to their special beam characteristics, HBLDs require specially designed microoptics to make use of their increased brightness. The first task will involve the detailed optical design of an original device to produce a symmetric beam parameter product. The optical system will be designed using simulation tools such as Zemax, ASAP and OSLO.
This task will be accomplished by one engineer of INO’s optical design department. This department is composed of seven engineers and technologists, cumulating several years of expertise in the designing and simulation of optical systems in various fields of application. The second task will involve producing prototypes of microoptical coupling systems, as designed in the first task.
Specific microprocessing techniques will be developed and applied for their fabrication. A dedicated team of four engineers and technologists of INO’s MOMS group will apply their expertise in microprocessing techniques to produce the novel microoptics.
More specifically, techniques of photolithography, direct laser beam writing and replication in hybrid glass will be used to produce high performance and low cost microoptics. Finally, the prototypes will be thoroughly tested to confirm their performance and optimise the optical design of the fibre coupling microoptic.
Previous expertise with laser systems using laser diode bars and arrays provides a strong background to conduct this task. Expertise in the optical collimation of laser diode bars and arrays, with and without further fibre coupling for direct use for illumination and material processing as well as for fibre laser and amplifier pumping will be used.
Developing High Brightness Laser Diodes will benefit the environment and security fields of application. For the past several years, INO has been working on these field-related projects, in particular the active imaging systems (ATV) and Lidar systems. The ATV system uses a collimated beam from a laser diode array to illuminate a remote scene (up to several km) allowing imaging and positive identification with a CCD camera combined with appropriate zooming optics.
The ability to make active imaging (i.e. synchronized detection: time gating of the echo laser pulse coming from a specific volume of the region of interest/target) makes it possible to circumvent the difficulties of doing imaging in bad weather conditions. These characteristics are important in applications such as cost surveillance, and search and rescue operations.
ATV applications benefit from the effectiveness, compactness, and reliability of laser diode bars. Development of HBLDs will benefit the ATV systems in lowering cost at improved or equivalent performance rating of the laser beam source Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) and derived techniques (multiple fields of view, Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL) etc.) use laser light pulses to monitor atmospheric dust, pollutants or biological agents.
Remote sensing (up to a few km) is accomplished by analysing the echo pulses from the interest region. Depending on the specific technique, the return intensity, scattering profile, and spectral characteristics will be analysed to obtain information on the particle’s characteristics and composition.
Such detection schemes require high peak power laser pulses. A selectable or tuneable wavelength is also important to a specific pollutant’s or biological agent's sensitivity.
Therefore, diode-pumped pulsed fibre lasers and amplifiers are preferred laser sources for these applications as they are compact, robust, and well suited for field operations. Development of HBLDs will also benefit these applications as they will provide an efficient and economical ($ per Watt) pumping source for the fibre laser and amplifier.