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Compact ultrafast CARS light source

In recent years coherent anti-stokes Raman scattering spectroscopy (CARS) microscopy has been moving off of the optics benches and into real life science applications, increasing the demand for a turnkey light source. In response, APE and High Q Laser released the picoEmerald CARS light source at the LASER – World of Photonics tradeshow in Munich, Germany. The remote-controlled, hands-free one-box source provides pump- and stokes pulses perfectly overlapped in space and time.

A single housing contains the high-power 1064-nm picosecond oscillator with a frequency doubler and a synchronously pumped OPO. The optical modules were optimized to exhibit maximum passive stability.

Wavelength tuning can be performed automatically by PC. The three overlapping ultrafast pulse trains include 1064 nm out of the laser oscillator itself as well as 690 to 990 nm (signal range) and 1150 to 2300 nm (idler range) from the OPO. A synchronously-pumped OPO pumped by a mode-locked solid state laser means that the pulses show no timing jitter and a very low noise level.

The companies anticipate that microscopy companies will include this light source as part of complete CARS imaging systems in the future.

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