Coherent targets bioinstrumentation with several new photonics products

JUNE 18, 2009--During a press conference at Laser World of Photonics (Munich, Germany, June 15-18) Coherent Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) (Nasdaq: COHR) announced a number of new or updated products, including several for the biomedical space: an OPO for multiphoton microscopy; two compact, high-power bioinstrumentation lasers; a high-power UV laser targeting high-throughput live-cell applications; a pair of green new OPSL lasers (0.5W and 1W) for fluorescence based bioinstrumentation; and a second pair of green OPSL lasers (2W and 5W) for low cost ultrafast and Ti:sapphire pumping.

For instance, Coherent has completely redesigned its Chameleon OPO (optical parametric oscillator) to provide extremely simple access to tunable near-IR wavelengths for multiphoton excitation (MPE) microscopy. Used with any model of Coherent's Chameleon ultrafast lasers, the OPO delivers continuous gap-free tuning from 1000 nm to over 1600 nm with up to 600 mW of specified output power. Moreover, tuning causes no change in beam pointing direction and thus requires no adjustments of downstream (microscope) optics. Coherent notes that there are several advantages to using a tunable MPE source at longer (>1000 nm) wavelengths: It enables optimum excitation of m-fruit fluorophores such as m-cherry. Also the long wavelengths are less damaging to live tissues, undergo less scatter (supporting deeper imaging), and enable lower group velocity dispersion (GVD) of typical microscope optics.

High power in a compact package
Two new bioinstrumentation lasers from Coherent promise the highest power yet available in a compact package: The Sapphire 488 LP offers 150 mW of CW output at 488 nm, while the Sapphire 561 LP provides 200 mW of power at 561 nm. Available in OEM and CDRH configurations, the units measure just 125 x 70 x 34 mm, making them particularly easy to integrate into benchtop instrumentation. Integration is further aided by the high efficiency of the optically pumped semiconductor laser (OPSL) technology utilized in Sapphire LP series products, which produces minimal waste heat. Also, a USB port interface (OEM version only; in addition to the analog and RS-232 ports previously available) enables simple software control of laser operation and readout of all laser operating and status parameters. In addition, a new OEM controller board, available for all Sapphire LP products, is approximately half the size of the prior version.

The Sapphire LP 488 and Sapphire LP 561 are primarily targeted at applications such as flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, and sequencing in genomics and proteomics. In these uses, their unique combination of small size and high output power enable construction of highly compact instrumentation. Furthermore, these cost effective lasers do not sacrifice performance. In particular, they deliver excellent beam quality (M²<1.1), low noise (<0.25% rms from 20 Hz to 2 MHz) and high pointing stability (<30 μrad), resulting in stable, low noise instrument operation. They are also cost-effective.

UV laser: highest power yet for true CW output
The new Genesis 355-150 S sets a new power record for true CW ultraviolet solid-state performance, according to Coherent, delivering >150 milliwatts of TEM00 output for flow cytometry and other live-cell bio applications. Also based on Coherent's OPSL technology, the laser is a true CW source of 355 nm UV light, it avoids the potential high peak power problems arising from older quasi CW lasers.

With low output noise and a single spatial output mode (M2 <1.2), the Genesis 355-150 S is suited for high-throughput applications needing best signal-to-noise ratio data. In fact, the system is intended to increase throughput in live cell applications including flow cytometry and egg and fertilized-egg sorting, where the peak power of alternative, modelocked lasers poses significant risk of mutagenic damage to the DNA in the sorted cells. It also targets such fluorescence-based applications as confocal microscopy, where its short wavelength and low M2 beam provide optimum excitation of Hoechst and Indo dyes.

Green means go for life science applications
Two new Genesis CW green (532 nm) lasers offer a favorable combination of noise (< 0.1% rms) and mode quality (M2 <1.1). The Genesis 532-1000 S lasers produce over 1 Watt of output power, while the Genesis 532-500 S lasers deliver over 0.5 Watts. Both are air-cooled, can be directly modulated, and based on the company's patented optically pumped semiconductor laser (OPSL) technology. Primary applications for Genesis lasers are in fluorescence based bioinstrumentation markets, including OEM and end user instruments in high-throughput DNA sequencing and flow cytometry, and particle visualization.

Green also means lower cost Ti:sapphire pumping
Finally, Coherent has further expanded its OPSL product platform with the introduction of the Verdi G2 and G5 lasers, which deliver 2W and 5W (respectively) at 532 nm. The lasers promise leading performance in a robust, compact, electrically-efficient and easy-to-integrate package. The primary scientific applications for Verdi lasers are spectroscopy, holography, interferometry, carrier envelope phase- (CEP) stabilization, atom cooling and trapping, and other scientific research and laser pumping.

The new systems provide the same performance as DPSS-based systems at less cost. For instance, Verdi G5 provides the same power, same low noise (<0.03% rms), and high quality, single-spatial mode (M2 <1.1) output as earlier 5 Watt Verdi lasers based on DPSS technology, but with a 50% smaller footprint and a lower price. This combination makes it an ideal source for pumping ultrafast and CW Ti:sapphire lasers. It is backed by a 2 year/10,000hr warranty.

For more information on these products, see Coherent's website.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for BioOptics World.

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