A picosecond laser is a
laser which emits optical pulses with a duration between 1 ps and (usually) some tens of picoseconds. It thus also belongs to the category of or ultrafast lasers . ultrashort pulse lasers
Sometimes, other laser-based sources for picosecond pulses – for example
synchronously pumped OPOs – are also called picosecond lasers, even if they are strictly speaking no lasers.
A variety of laser types can generate picosecond pulses, with other performance parameters varying in wide ranges:
The most common sources are
actively or passively mode-locked solid-state bulk lasers. These can provide very clean ( transform-limited and low- noise) ultrashort pulses with pulse repetition rates varying from a few megahertz to more than 100 GHz. For example, a passively mode-locked Nd:YAG or vanadate laser can easily generate e.g. 10-ps pulses with several watts of output power, and thin-disk lasers can generate many tens of watts in shorter pulses.
Mode-locked fiber lasers can also cover a wide range of repetition rates from a few megahertz up to more than 100 GHz (with harmonic mode locking). Particularly with MOPA or MOFA systems, very high average output powers are possible. The pulse quality from such sources varies; for example, the pulses may or may not be close to bandwidth-limited. Lower repetition rates are possible with an additional
pulse picker and also allow for amplification to higher pulse energies e.g. with a regenerative amplifier, possibly using chirped-pulse amplification. Cavity dumping of a mode-locked laser is another option.
Laser diodes can be mode-locked for picosecond pulse generation (→ ). This leads to compact sources with typical pulse repetition rates between 1 GHz and hundreds of gigahertz. However, the pulse energy is severely limited, and the pulse quality is not always high. mode-locked diode lasers
Laser diodes can also be gain-switched with carefully designed electronics to achieve pulse durations of well below 1 ns, sometimes even below 100 ps. This leads to very compact and potentially cheap sources, and another advantage is that the pulse repetition rate can easily be varied in a very wide range simply via the driver electronics. See the article on picosecond diode lasers. Although
Q-switched lasers typically generate nanosecond pulses, Q-switched microchip lasers can reach pulse durations far below 100 ps. More exotic sources of picosecond pulses are
free electron lasers, which can provide high pulse energies even in extreme wavelength regions. Applications of Picosecond Lasers
Picosecond lasers are used in a wide range of
laser applications. Some of these lasers are industrial lasers, while others are scientific lasers. Some typical applications are discussed in the following. Laser Material Processing
laser material processing, e.g. laser drilling or cutting, it is often advantageous to use very short light pulses having correspondingly high peak powers for a given pulse energy. Nanosecond pulse durations (from nanosecond lasers) are often too long because a substantial spread of deposited energy can occur by thermal conduction during the pulse duration. This is quite different for pulse durations of e.g. 10 ps or less, where there is minimum heat diffusion during the pulse duration. As a result, substantially finer structures can be processed with high quality ( laser micromachining). Note, however, that high quality results usually require a careful optimization of many process details.
femtosecond lasers, picosecond laser sources are often more economical: a higher average output power is available at a lower price. In applications such as laser micromachining, one sometimes achieves better quality results with femtosecond pulses, but picosecond pulses are often sufficient when the process is sufficiently optimized overall. In such cases, picosecond lasers are often preferred. Medical Applications
There are some medical applications where picosecond pulses have advantages. A common application is the removal of tattoos, and similarly one may reduce pigments of natural origins. There are also surgical procedures where precise material
ablation can be achieved with picosecond pulses. Laser Microscopy
Some laser microscopes are operated with picosecond pulses, although femtosecond pulses have substantial advantages in some cases.
Many synchronously pumped
optical parametric oscillators are pumped with picosecond lasers. Sometimes, the whole setup is still called a picosecond laser, even though it also contains an OPO. Measurements
Picosecond laser pulses are useful for a very wide range of measurements. For example,
distance measurements with LIDAR, e.g. based on time-of-flight measurements, can be performed. Picosecond pulses are also often used in pump–probe measurements on timescales of multiple picoseconds to nanoseconds. Telecommunications
In the area of
optical fiber communications, picosecond lasers can be used in different ways. For example, picosecond lasers may be used for generating soliton pulses in optical fibers, which propagate without dispersive broadening. For such purposes, compact and cheap lasers with gigahertz repetition rates, often with emission in the 1.5-μm telecom bands, are required.
contains RP Photonics Buyer's Guide 88 suppliers for picosecond lasers. Among them:
RPMC Lasers offers one of the widest wavelength selections of
<300 picosecond and >300 picosecond lasers available ranging from the UV through the SWIR regimes. Our offerings include pulsed DPSS lasers, fiber lasers, and microchip lasers with pulse energy as high as 5 mJ and pulse repetition rates up to 80 MHz.
mode-locked picosecond lasers with superior beam quality and high reliability. The pulse duration can be less than 20 ps. Available wavelengths are 266 nm, 355 nm, 532 nm, 1064 nm, 1319 nm and others.
The ALPHALAS product line of
PICOPOWER series ultrafast lasers implements advanced methods for generating picosecond pulses, including active, passive or combined mode-locking. ALPHALAS is the only manufacturer that uses the patented and most advanced “Nonlinear Mirror” or “Stankov Mirror” mode-locking method based on second harmonic generation with practically unlimited power scaling.
The product line includes cavity-dumped mode-locked lasers, regeneratively amplified picosecond pulses with unsurpassed low jitter < 3.5 ps for pulses “on demand” and MW peak power. Optional harmonic wavelengths are also available.
The PICOPOWER-LD series of the proprietary picosecond diode lasers covers the range 375 nm to 2300 nm with picosecond pulses as short as 12 ps and high peak power more than 2 W for specific wavelengths. Numerous applications cover optical parametric generator pumping, nonlinear optics, spectroscopy time-resolved spectroscopy, remote sensing and material processing.
Based on an all-fiber design, MPBC’s
picosecond mode-locked fiber lasers are highly reliable (10,000 hrs) and maintenance-free. Customized specifications are available for emission wavelengths from 1020 to 1100 nm and pulse durations of 2 to 50 ps. Average output power varies from 2 to 3000 mW, depending on the configuration. These lasers are designed to address a range of market applications including semiconductor inspection, micro-machining, metrology, multi-photon spectroscopy, and can be used as a seed source for optical amplifiers, and second harmonic generation.
Bright Solutions has the
NPS narrowband picosecond lasers: 1064, 532 or 355 nm 7-ps pulses at 40 MHz spectral width < 0.3 nm 10 mW average output power; custom Nps-1064-k2 with amplifier for 2 W output power
The NPS lasers are suitable for applications like OPO pumping, Raman or fluorescence spectroscopy and multimodal imaging.
ultrafast lasers. The flexible Amphos1000 1030-nm seed laser (a fiber laser) is the basis for amplified sources like the Amphos1500 with up to 5 mJ pulse energy (for picosecond pulse durations), the Amphos3000 series with up to 20 mJ, and the Amphos5000 series with 800 W or 1000 W average output power and up to 50 mJ. Common features are a high beam quality, narrow spectral bandwidth, burst mode features and flexibility concerning the pulse duration. Typical applications are OPCPA pumping, attosecond physics, high harmonic generation and laser material processing.
There are also frequency-converted versions emitting at 515 nm or 343 nm.
Iceblink is a supercontinuum fiber laser covering the 450–2300 nm spectral range with 3 W of average power and superior stability (<0.5% std. dev.). It is a very versatile white light source with a world of applications in the scientific and industrial sectors, including absorption/transmission measurements for material characterization, VIS, NIR, IR spectroscopy, single molecule spectroscopy, and fluorescence excitation. The spatial coherence and broad spectrum of Iceblink make it a great alternative to classic lamps, single-line lasers, LEDs, and ASE sources.
Teem Photonics offers a wide range of lasers with pulse durations as short as 100 ps. For example, the
266 nm PNU-M01210-1x0 laser, belongs to the Powerchip laser series, which also covers wavelengths of 1064 nm, 532 nm, 355 nm and 213 nm with pulse durations below 500 ps. Peak powers of tens of kilowatts (or even 160 kW at 1064 nm) are generated. Compared with mode-locked picosecond lasers, the pulse repetition rates are limited to about 100 kHz), while the pulse energies are far higher – tens of microjoules.
TOPTICA offers next generation ultrafast
picosecond and femtosecond fiber lasers for science and industry. The key for successful integration of ultrafast technology are robust, cost-effective systems with simple push-button operation. TOPTICA offers several products fulfilling these requirements: ultrafast fiber lasers based on erbium (Er) and ytterbium (Yb).
Radiantis Zenith is a broadly tunable picosecond laser system, tunable across 1450 – 4000 nm. This system incorporates a pump laser and an Optical Parametric Oscillator (OPO) which provides fully automated tuning and high power on a integrated and robust platform.
With external trigger functionality, nano- to picosecond pulse duration, and a wide range of wavelengths, the
KATANA & PILAS series are our most versatile offerings. Our PILAS range of gain-switched pulsed diode lasers offers triggerable pulses with durations down to 20 ps in a small footprint for both scientific and OEM applications. Available with output wavelengths from 375–1600 nm, the PILAS lasers are versatile and come with low timing jitter.
The picosecond laser source
picoEmerald emits ultra-short pulses with a duration of 2 picoseconds (other durations possible). The wavelength tuning of the ps laser is fully automated across a tuning range of 700 to 990 nm (signal) and 1080 nm to 1950 nm (idler). The fundamental beam at 1032 nm is also available. A wavelength scan / sweep function for fast spectra acquisition over certain specific wavelengths is included.
The key-facts of the picoEmerald are:
wavelength 1 IR beam 1032 nm wavelength 2 tunable 700 … 990 nm wavelength 3 tunable 1080 … 1950 nm 80 MHz pulse repetition rate temporal and spatial overlap of the output wavelengths integrated time delay between the wavelengths common output port for all beams fully automated wavelength tuning EOM optionally integrated
AdValue Photonics offers the
EVERESTpico 1 μm picosecond fiber laser (AP-1030P), Different models can deliver 50-ps pulses with 15 W, 30 W, 60 W or 100 W average power in a collimated free-space beam with excellent beam quality. Pulse repetition rates can go up to 1 MHz.
There is also the
EVERESTpico green picosecond laser for applications like laser cutting, drilling and scribing on various materials. Different models can deliver 50-ps pulses with up to 30 W average power and excellent beam quality.
The Stuttgart Instruments
Alpha is an ultrafast and fully wavelength-tunable frequency conversion system in an ultra-compact and completely passively stable system based on revolutionary parametric oscillator design which guarantees outstanding stability, reproducibility and shot-noise limited performance.
The revolutionary design of Stuttgart Instruments
Alpha, characterized by outstanding low noise and passive long-term stability, is based on the fiber-feedback optical parametric oscillator (FFOPO) technology and results in outstanding performance and high flexibility at the same time.
Alpha covers a gap-free rapid tunable spectral range from 700 nm to 20 µm wavelengths, while maintaining high output power up to the Watt-level with femto- or picosecond pulses at several MHz pulse repetition rates. It provides multiple simultaneously tunable outputs with a selectable bandwidth from a few to 100 cm −1. Shot-noise limited performance above 300 kHz, passive spectral stability (< 0.02 % rms) and wavelength-independent stable beam pointing (< 30 µrad) enable excellent sensitivity. In addition, each Alpha is equipped with a user-friendly ethernet and Wi-Fi interface and a matching graphical user interface (GUI) as well as easy to access API interfaces for e.g. LabView, Phyton, C++.
Alpha is pumped by an ultra-low-noise Primus pump laser, which provides more than 8 W average output power at 1040 nm wavelength and 450 fs pulse duration at 42 MHz repetition rate. In addition, the Alpha can be operated with other pump lasers around 1 µm wavelength and enough power.
Due to our modular platform, the
Alpha can be adapted and optimized for various applications and is particularly suited for spectroscopic applications requiring a robust and reliable tunable radiation with low noise.
Due to their excellent stability and high output parameters, EKSPLA
scientific picosecond lasers established their name as “gold standard” among scientific picosecond lasers. The innovative design of the new generation of picosecond mode-locked lasers features diode-pumping‑only technology, thus reducing maintenance costs and improving output parameters. Second, third, fourth and fifth (on some versions) harmonic options combined with various accessories, advanced electronics (for streak camera synchronization, phase-locked loop, synchronization of fs laser) and customization possibilities make these lasers well suited for many scientific applications, including optical parametric generator pumping, time-resolved spectroscopy, nonlinear spectroscopy, remote sensing, metrology and others.
mode-locked lasers, mode locking, ultrafast lasers, femtosecond lasers, ultrashort pulses, picosecond diode lasers, nanosecond lasers, solid-state lasers, mode-locked fiber lasers
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