Compact, all-in-one ultrafast CARS light source by APE and High Q Laser

To address the need for an easy-to-use, turnkey light source for coherent anti-Stokes Raman-scattering (CARS) microscopy, Angewandte Physik und Elektronik GmbH (APE; Berlin. Germany) and High Q Laser (Rankweil, Austria and Watertown, MA) have developed picoEmerald, a remote controlled, hands-free one-box light source that promises pump and Stokes pulses perfectly overlapped in space and time.

To address the need for an easy-to-use, turnkey light source for coherent anti-Stokes Raman-scattering (CARS) microscopy, Angewandte Physik und Elektronik GmbH (APE; Berlin. Germany) and High Q Laser (Rankweil, Austria and Watertown, MA) have developed picoEmerald, a remote controlled, hands-free one-box light source that promises pump and Stokes pulses perfectly overlapped in space and time. The picoEmerald comprises a high power picosecond oscillator (1064 nm) with a frequency doubler and a synchronously pumped optical parametric oscillator (OPO) in a single housing. Its optical modules were optimized by finite element analysis and mechanical stability algorithms (misalignment stability optimization) for maximum passive stability, and an active resonator control continuously maximizes the efficiency of the high-power picosecond oscillator and OPO.

For more information see High Q Laser's application note on picoEmerald and CARS microscopy.
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original news release from APE

A new compact all-in-one ultrafst CARS light source
APE presents picoEmerald in Munich

As CARS microscopy has been moving out of physics labs into life science institutions the demand for an easy to use and turnkey light source increased. The conjoint answer of the companies APE and High Q Laser is the picoEmerald, a remote controlled, truly hands-free one-box CARS light source, providing Pump- and Stokes pulses perfectly overlapped in space and time.

The picoEmerald comprises a high power picosecond oscillator (1064 nm) with a frequency doubler and a synchronously pumped OPO in a single housing. The optical modules were optimized by finite element analysis and mechanical stability algorithms (misalignment stability optimization) to exhibit maximum passive stability. In addition an active resonator control is maximizing continuously the efficiency of the high power picosecond oscillator and the OPO. The picoEmerald supplies three temporally and spatially overlapping ultrafast pulse trains: 1064 nm out of the laser oscillator itself and 690 nm … 990 nm (Signal range) and 1150 nm … 2300 nm (Idler range) from the OPO. The wavelength tuning occurs automatically by PC. Due to the use of a synchronously pumped OPO pumped by a modelocked solid state laser the pulses show no timing jitter and a very low noise level.

Best spectroscopic resolution requires a picosecond excitation with a typical bandwidth of ~10 cm-1. The picoEmerald delivers 7 ps at 1064 and 5-6 ps from the OPO to match this requirement. Independent power adjustments of the 1064 nm beam and the OPO Signal and Idler, sensors for the spatial and temporal overlap and a high resolution spectrometer are included. 1064 nm pulses and OPO Idler pulses can be independently combined with the OPO Signal or blocked. The standard CARS set up is utilizing the 1064 nm as Stokes and the Signal pulse train as Pump with an energy difference from 700 to 5000 cm-1. Other CARS set-ups are using the Signal and Idler pulse trains (1400 to 10.000 cm-1) for higher penetration depths due to the red shifted excitation wavelengths.

The specified 750 mW for both1064 nm and the OPO-Signal output as well as 600 mW for the OPO-Idler provide more than enough power for CARS and coherent Raman microscopy.

With the picoEmerald researchers in biology, medical and other life sciences get an easy to use light source for CARS microscopy. As a next step microscope manufacturers will integrate the picoEmerald into their confocal microscope systems and offer complete CARS imaging systems to life science users.

APE presents the picoEmerald at the LASER - World of Photonics, Hall B1 - Booth 116

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

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