OPOs are known for being widely tunable and for maintaining the same high level of performance across the entire wavelength range. This makes them the ideal light source for spectroscopic experiments and means they have been used for many years in diverse areas, such as molecular spectroscopy, photochemistry and trace gas analysis.
Fraunhofer IPM focuses on developing continuous-wave optical parametric oscillators (CW OPOs) in close collaboration with the Chair of Optical Systems at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg. In comparison to conventional pulsed systems, which have long been available on the market, CW OPOs have a considerably more sophisticated design. As a result, CW OPOs combine broad spectral flexibility with a very low spectral linewidth, making them a sought-after tool in the fields of atomic physics, quantum optics and molecular spectroscopy.
By skillfully combining optics, mechanics and electronics Fraunhofer IPM develops light sources with high conversion efficiencies, mechanic stability and reliable performance.
In addition to systems covering the infrared spectrum between 1,300 and 5,200 nm, the most recent piece of equipment to be developed is the C-WAVE, an OPO for the near-infrared and visible wavelength ranges (900–1,300 nm and 450–650 nm respectively). The device, which received the 2014 Prism Award for Photonics Innovation, is sold by Hübner. The C-WAVE provides wide spectral coverage in the visible wavelength range without the need for users to manually change components, making it a very attractive alternative to dye lasers.
In the field of nonlinear optical frequency conversion Fraunhofer IPM closely collaborates with the Chair of Optical Systems at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg. This way, fundamental research leads to novel tunable light sources such as cw OPOs.