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Coherent Solid-State Lasers Enable Oscar Award-Winning
Jul 2002
   Santa Clara, Calif., April 29, 2002 – Coherent, Inc.’s Compass 315M and Sapphire 460-10 solid-state lasers are at the heart of the Oscar award-winning ARRILASER. Developed by Arnold & Richter Cinetechnik (ARRI) and the Fraunhofer Institute of Physical Measurement Techniques, manufactured and distributed by ARRI, the ARRILASER is a laser-based film recorder that transfers digitally produced images onto conventional 35-mm film. It was awarded a Scientific and Engineering Award in early March by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

In today’s moviemaking, digital film recording is a common process where red, green and blue laser sources are used to "color" picture frames onto the film in a fast recording process. Specifically, ARRILASER relies on a red laser diode coupled with Coherent’s Compass 315M green laser and the new Sapphire 460-10 blue laser. The results can be seen in such films as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Tomb Raider and The Grinch.

"The first-time use of solid-state lasers for the three fundamental colors enabled the development of a high-quality, cost-efficient and reliable film recorder. The advantages of solid-state lasers truly pay off in this application where lasers need to work around the clock," said Dr. Johannes Steurer, project manager with ARRI. "The Coherent solid-state technology has shown outstanding reliability and performance in our demanding application. With the sensitive human eye being the final judge on the optical performance, we rely on these ultra-stable laser sources."

While in the past only a few film sequences were digitally recorded, a recent trend is to record the entire movie master film digitally. The ARRILASER film recorder responds to that trend with state-of-the-art technology. "We are very pleased to deliver our solid-state lasers to this application," said Matthias Schulze, product line manager for Coherent. "The ARRILASER is an exciting technology bridge between the digital world of computer-animated pictures and the established 35-mm worldwide movie film standard. Furthermore, as the award-winning picture quality of the ARRILASER requires the lasers to meet very stringent performance requirements, we had to pass a very thorough qualification. We are proud to have exceeded those requirements."

Sapphire 460-10 is the world’s first commercial solid-state 460-nm laser. It provides 10 mW of output power. Based on a unique optically pumped semiconductor laser (OPSLO) technology, Sapphire lasers were designed to enable a new generation of digital imaging systems that are free from the limitations associated with the air-cooled argon-ion lasers currently ubiquitous in this application. Sapphire 460-10 is 90% smaller, consumes 98% less power and dissipates 98% less heat than comparable air-cooled argon lasers.

Coherent’s Compass 315M continuous-wave, diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) laser emits at 532 nm and is available in output powers of 20-, 50-, 100- and 150-mW. It is conductive-cooled, features a TEM00 beam profile, and uses an intra-cavity frequency doubling crystal to convert IR emissions to the green wavelength. Compass lasers feature a modular OEM design and incorporate Coherent’s unique Permalign™ technique — a system where every component within the laser head is aligned with precision external tooling and then soldered into place. This technique provides the foundation for highly stable, low-noise lasers.

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