Optical Fiber Laser Performance Enhanced by Formulation

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TUCSON, Ariz., April. 28, 2020 — A team of five inventors at the University of Arizona led by Nasser Peyghambarian, a professor in the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, created a formulation for phosphate-doped fiber and tellurite-doped fiber, enhancing their performance and allowing for the building of more powerful fiber lasers and optical amplifiers.

Nasser Peyghambarian led the team of inventors to enhance the performance of fiber lasers and optical amplifiers.. Courtesy of University of Arizona.

Nasser Peyghambarian led the team of inventors to enhance the performance of fiber lasers and optical amplifiers. Courtesy of University of Arizona.

With the help of Tech Launch Arizona, the commercialization arm of the University of Arizona, the university has patented the technology and licensed it to startup CMLaser Technologies Inc.

Such lasers, which have direct applications in laser-based countermeasures for military and nonmilitary aircraft, are enabling the development of aircraft-based technologies for detecting and defeating missile attacks. Heat-seeking missiles, invented in the 1970s, work by targeting the heat of jet engines. To foil these missiles, aircraft would deploy bright thermal flares to fool the missiles and draw them away. As technologies have advanced, engineers have turned to laser-based innovations for such countermeasures.

“We have been doing this research for more than 10 years, working with students and research faculty to create a technology that is defensive in nature and will save lives,” Peyghambarian said.

In the early 2000s, the inventing team included then-adjunct professors Axel Schulzgen and Seppo Honkanen; Jacques Albert, now a professor of electrical engineering at Carleton University; and then-doctoral student Li Li.

University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins praised Peygambarian’s dedication to his students, his field, and the idea of creating impact through research. “Dr. Peyghambarian is a true superstar, and the Wyant College of Optical Sciences has an incredibly strong tradition of innovation in technologies that contribute to our national security and public safety,” he said.

Peyghambarian has a long history of educating students and developing and commercializing cutting-edge technologies. He is an inventor credited on more than 40 patents, and this is the fifth startup in which he has been involved to bring inventions he has developed to the marketplace. In 2016, the National Academy of Inventors named Peyghambarian a fellow, the organization’s highest honor.

CMLaser Technologies has already secured investment from UAVenture Capital, led by University of Arizona alumnus and CEO Fletcher McCusker, who said the funds will be used to advance the technology and better prepare it for application in practical settings.

Published: April 2020
Research & TechnologyOpticsUniversity of Arizonaoptical fibersTech Launch Arizonafiber lasersdefensemilitaryfiber optics

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