In honor of the company’s 20th anniversary, Holo/Or’s Moshe Bril, sales manager, and Abraham Rotnemer, sales and application engineer, interview Israel Grossinger, founder and acting general manager of Holo/Or. How did it all start? Twenty years ago, there was a lot of activity in the research institutes but no company that actually offered diffractive optical elements (DOEs) on a commercial basis. I saw potential in telecommunication and medical laser optics. We arranged to offer a WDM module to the telecom network designers. Soon afterwards we came to Coherent Medical, the leader in medical laser systems in these days. They were interested in entering this field and also looked to academic institutes like MIT that did work in this field. Eventually Coherent decided to partner with us, as we had advanced designs and manufacturing and were set up to establish a normal commercial relationship with them. I also had dealt as the vice president R&D of Indigo (that has been sold later to HP) at this level of commerce, so naturally this was a good fit. Coherent was very glad to try our new designs and even asked us to copy, one-by-one, our production facilities. What was Holo/Or’s first product?Actually our Holo-Fractive and dual-wavelength lenses were the first DOEs sold on a commercial basis in the world. The Holo-Fractive lenses correct the spherical aberrations with a diffractive surface to diffraction-limited spot size and also allow getting the same spot size at a larger working distance, while suffering less from backspatter. The dual-wavelength lens corrects the strong chromatic aberrations between a CO2 laser and its red aiming beam. This is still a very popular element we sell to be used in surgical laser systems and FTIR systems. Dual-wavelength lenses, which are still used in surgical laser systems, are shown here. Images: Holo/Or. What other developments have you been strongly involved with over the years? We have contributed to a variety of fields. Many times these included diffractive optical technologies, but sometimes we did the design and the development as subcontractors for creating conventional optical systems. It is worth mentioning that these technologies have application in contact lenses, fundus cameras, hair coloring diagnostic and guiding systems, portable scanners, esthetical laser treatments, camera pills, and many more products and projects. What are the most popular products today? A lot we do today in homogenizers/diffusers/beam shapers. The customers get with their laser a spot that is normally not optimal for the application. With our optics, we then make the spot more uniform or modify the spot size. If they have high-power lasers, they know they need a solution from Holo/Or that uses pure fused silica or ZnSe still at reasonable prices. They do not want to waste much of their energy, so they get the elements for us that put ~75 to 98 percent of the energy of their laser exactly where they want it. This image represents a high-efficiency round diffuser with 90 percent of the energy in the desired spot. Another family that is getting more and more popular is the 1-D and the 2-D multispots. Here the customer creates a number of points from one laser close to each other. Most of these are a way to get a higher throughput – this can be for perforation, or skin resurfacing, automatic optical inspection or other applications. Also here the customer asks for high-efficiency, high damage threshold and get as much as possible part of the energy in the desired spots. How do you position yourself between your competitors? We have probably the largest collection of high-power DOEs available, so the customer normally doesn’t need to pay nonrecurring engineering costs (NRE) even for a job that looks very special. On top of that, we keep the NRE prices very low, so even if a new design is required, the customer will get this from us at only a fraction of the cost of the price our competitors ask. Furthermore, we take care to give fast, detailed and accurate responses to the questions and concerns of the customer. I think that our customers feel that we care and that we wish their projects to succeed. We will alert them of problems even before they see them many times. We are, after all, the most mature DOE manufacturer and have worked hard to build our reputation and customer base over the years. Where do you see Holo/Or and DOEs 10 years from now?We look into new applications like solar energy and communications. I trust either we or other DOE companies will start playing a larger role here. In the more immediate future, we wish to climb higher in the food chain. So you will soon see subsystems from us, where we integrate our elements together with more optics and/or lasers. Together with that, we keep developing new elements like vortex lenses or a type of homogenized splitter and are always open to hear from our customers where they wish us to assist them. How is Holo/Or celebrating 20 years?As we wish to celebrate with our customers, we decided to lower the price for any order received between April 1 and June 20, 2009 with a minimum of 10 percent and an average of 20 percent, depending on the type of products, some having up to a 50 percent discount. For more information, visit: www.holoor.com Holo/Or Ltd. was founded in 1989 to develop and manufacture diffractive and micro-optical elements for the optics industry. The company is located at the Kiryat Weizmann High Tech Industrial Park, next to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.