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Laser Focus at CLEO 2018

Posted by Philip Zeng on Fri, May 25, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

Tags: deformable mirror, adaptive optics, laser science, spatial light modulator, BMC, free-space communication, modulating retroreflector, optical modulator, CLEO, Thorlabs, "AOSDK"

Last week, I attended the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) with my colleague and well-experienced technical salesperson, Michael Feinberg. Held in the San Jose Convention Center, Boston Micromachines was graciously hosted again by our strategic partner, Thorlabs – thanks (again) for the help and partnership!

As a growing marketing and sales engineer, I took in the chance to really explore and educate myself about the photonics and optics industry more as I did at my first tradeshow this past January, SPIE BiOS and Photonics West. Being hosted by Thorlabs provided me a chance to meet and interact with the Thorlabs crew and learn more about each of their specialized fields, from lenses to optomechanics, optical fibers to motion control sensors, and more.

A huge difference between the two shows is definitely the focus and size. After experiencing BiOS and Photonics West, CLEO was definitely much more on the smaller size and the venue seemed to have less and less visitors every following day. While less substantial in terms of number of visitors, there were a few good quality leads that  showed a large interest in our deformable mirror products for their lab and research. Most of it leaned towards laser applications as the name of the conference suggests, but there were some whose experience and research resided in microscopy as well. 

While there was not as much interest in it as I thought it would generate, we presented and demonstrated our new Adaptive Optics Software Development Kit, also known as the AOSDK (see last blog post, 7 Mar 2018). Our simple demo set-up consisted of our Multi-3.5 DM, a Thorlabs Shack-Hartmann Wavefront Sensor (WFS), a source laser, and a PC laptop as the control system. MATLAB software was used to run the AOSDK code and correct a sample trial lens with a cylindrical aberration.

I believe in due time as adaptive optics becomes more and more mainstream, the AOSDK will be seen as a time-efficient tool that will greatly enhance engineers’ and scientists’ methods through integration into their own AO system.

I also had a chance to attend a couple of technical talks on the last day of the conference, topics ranging from wide-field multi-photon imaging using compressive sensing to wavefront shaping with a Wigner-Smith [time delay] operator. Though not necessarily directly related to usage of deformable mirrors or adaptive optics, it was certainly interesting to listen to the research being done to further the study of how we can control and manipulate light across applications.

Overall, CLEO was a great experience and show and gave me an opportunity to stick my head more into the optics world. I look forward to attending again next year with a more experienced perspective and looking at all things lasers.

Further focus at CLEO 2013

Posted by Michael Feinberg on Tue, Jul 09, 2013 @ 12:54 PM

Tags: deformable mirror, adaptive optics, boston micromachines, laser beam, laser science, biological imaging, deep tissue microscopy, BMC, two photon, free-space communication, modulating retroreflector, optical chopper, optical modulator, chopper, UAV, pulse, pulse width, laser pulse shaping, ultrafast lasers, CLEO, AOM, acousto-optic modulator, speed, shutter

It's been a few weeks since we returned frocleo resized 600m the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics 2013 and now that we're settled back in to the daily routine, I thought I would give some highlights on the show. I was happy to be joined this time by our new Marketing and Communications Specialist, Angelica Perrone, who did a great job navigating the complex photonics market for the first time.

While the conference seems to be chugging along at a nice pace, the tradeshow has most definitely become a smaller venue.  We were once again hosted by our strategic partner, Thorlabs (thanks, again guys!) and being in such a central location on the floor, we were able to get a good flavor for the pace of the show.  Here are my thoughts:

Little, different, yellow, better

Anybody get that Nuprin reference?  Anybody? See what I 'm talking about here.

Okay, so it's not yellow (although yellow lasers are cool), but the show is definitely getting smaller.  I mentioned to a colleague that since the show is in San Jose for the second year in the row, it seemed like the barriers on either end of the tradeshow floor had moved in just a bit. 

As far as different, the show is not like other photonics shows in that it is pretty focused in its applications.  While there were some interesting talks on microscopy, this was a small portion of the material, with most others focussing on more laser-centric applications, as the title of the conference implies. 

As far as better, I would say that for BMC, it was most definitely better for our new products:  The Reflective Optical Chopper(ROC) and the Linear Array DM.  We recieved more interest in these products over our legacy deformable mirror technologies. This is exciting for me as a product marketer and salesperson and even moreso as a member of a company that is always looking for new avenues for our technology. We see the ROC being useful for users who span from pure laser scientists to imaging engineers interested in chopping a beam at high speed with either a constant or variable duty cycle.  The linear array has already proven useful in pulse shaping applications as described in our whitepaper, which is available for download here.  Both products are available for purchase now.

Our Wavefront Sensorless Adaptive Optics Demonstrator for Beam Shaping (WSAOD-B)also generated some buzz. More and more applications which require wavefront correction are surfacing and need a solution without a wavefront sensor.

In all, it was a good show that has given me and my team work to do as we explore more exotic applications for our technology.  I look forward to joining the show again next year and I hope to connect with all of you again in the near future!

For more information on the products mentioned above, please visit our website and download our whitepapers.

Reflective Optical Chopper Outperforms the Rest

Posted by Angelica Perrone on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 @ 02:11 PM

Tags: adaptive optics, boston micromachines, product information, response time, BMC, free-space communication, modulating retroreflector, optical chopper, optical modulator, chopper, pulse, ultrafast lasers, CLEO, AOM, acousto-optic modulator, SNR, signal-to-noise, speed, shutter

As Boston Micromachines' newest member, I would first and foremost like to introduce myself. My name is Angelica and I have joined the BMC team as their Marketing and Communications Associate. It has been some time now since our last blog and I thought it would be appropriate to discuss our most recent product; The Reflective Optical Chopper, or ROC.ROC with driver 130326 No Logo

               Optical Choppers, being frequently used for signal recovery in improving signal-to-noise ratio, are used to convert a continuous laser beam into a chopped one. Traditional Optical Choppers offer various pains, such as the need to alter the beam size to fit through wheel spokes, challenging stability at low speeds, the need for costly lock-in amplifier equipment and complex calibration procedures. The innovative, low-cost ROC simply eliminates all of these, outperforming traditional optical choppers.

                Drive electronics are paired with BMC’s MEMS Optical Modulator technology to create the ROC. The ROC provides beam chopping at impressive speeds without beam size modification. With a frequency range of DC to 150 kHz with better than 40 µs response time, control increments of .01 Hz and a contrast ratio exceeding 90% up to 100 kHz, the value of the ROC ‘speaks’ for itself. For signal-to-noise ratio improvement, the drive signal can be used as the sync signal, allowing it to be painlessly synchronized.

                Many industrial, scientific, medical, aerospace and military applications call for the need of reliable and advanced equipment. The ROC has superior capabilities such as high speed, large frequency range, reliability, stability and usefulness in SNR improvement applications. Basically, the Reflective Optical Chopper is an advance in optical chopping technology which is available at a low price.

CLEO 2012: Concentrated Interest in Adaptive Optics

Posted by Michael Feinberg on Wed, Jun 06, 2012 @ 03:49 PM

Tags: deformable mirror, adaptive optics, boston micromachines, laser science, biological imaging, astronomy, CLEO


This year, the CLEO Conference had its normal interesting character:  A variety of users from hardcore laser scientists to focused business interests to laser scanning imaging folks.  BostonMEMS Optical Modulator Micromachines took our position within the Thorlabs booth for the 5th year(thanks again, guys!) and demonstrated some great technologies that we think will make an impact in the industry.  Our MEMS Optical Modulator  generated a fair amount of interest and prompted some great questions about its capabilities and possibilities.  We showed its flexibility by demonstrating how with a simple input signal and an amplifier, a reflective diffractive element can be used to couple light into a fiber at varying frequency and amplitude.  We went into the show thinking this would be the big topic of conversation.  While we did have some great conversations and we’re more than happy with the response, the real star of the show was our Wavefront Sensorless Adaptive Optics Demonstrator for Beam Shaping. Users from all walks of the laser industry approached me with potential uses from wavefront characterizationWavefront Sensorless Adaptive Optics Demonstrator techniques to photon counting.  I learned that the simplistic nature of the kit (maximize a signal through a pinhole) allows researchers with very different backgrounds to think of interesting ways to take advantage of its versatility.  We found that the simple, clear spot on the screen was enough to entice microscopists and laser scientists alike to brainstorm interesting ways in which to integrate the deformable mirror, detector and algorithm of the system into their latest work.  I am looking forward to some great follow-up conversations!

I did get the chance to venture out of the booth for a few talks as well as touch base with some new and old friends.  Major impressions:

1)      AO is still not a major player in laser science

While there were some interesting topics and uses of deformable mirrors and spatial light modulators, the technique is by no means pervasive as in other industries such as astronomy or biological imaging.  Other techniques such as MIIPS (congratulations again, Dr. Dantus) serve the industry and are well proven to be able to satisfactorily shape pulses. Another theory:  Laser scientists prefer to go after the laser for improvements instead of supplementary hardware.  This could be for a variety of reasons such as: a) extra hardware means lost light, b) this is where they are comfortable and love to tweak things or c) the cost is just too high right now.

2)      Beam characterization is becoming more affordable

With a few companies introducing higher speed and lower cost wavefront sensors, the market is becoming more accessible to more researchers.  This can only be good for everyone.

3)      Booth traffic is down, but more focused

In past years, my conversations were usually an even split between educating the visitor about the basics and having in-depth discussions about the capabilities and possibility of integrating devices into optical systems.  This year, the split was more like 75/25 in favor of detailed discussions.  Many are well aware of the background and of the 75%, at least half approach me with well thought-out ideas.  It is very refreshing and encouraging to have these discussions and I suspect the ratio will continue to grow as years go by.

Overall, it was a productive show.  I look forward to returning to San Jose next year and introduce exciting products that we have in our product roadmap and get more people to shape their light!