New Fiber Optic Beam Combiner Provides Plug-and-Play Simplicity for up to Eight Lasers

OBIS Galaxy (PresseBox) (Santa Clara, Calif., ) The new OBIS Galaxy, from Coherent, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) (Nasdaq: COHR), is the world's first product to enable users to combine the output of up to eight separate lasers (spanning the 405 nm to 640 nm wavelength range) into a single-mode fiber with plug-and-play simplicity. This robust, compact, single-mode polarization-maintaining fiber optic combiner will greatly simplify laser implementation in multi-wavelength applications, for both laboratory users and OEM instrumentation manufacturers. Using high-precision FC connectors, lasers can be effortlessly replaced with a >85% repeatability in power at the output fiber. This enables lasers to be "hot swapped" in the field, either to add extra wavelengths or upgrade the power at specific wavelengths. Moreover, OBIS Galaxy is designed as a flexible and open-architecture platform; it supports both direct plug-and-play with Coherent's line of OBIS FP smart laser modules, as well as other visible lasers via an optional (high-precision FC to APC) fiber optic adaptor cable. In addition, OBIS Galaxy operates over a wide (10-50°C) temperature range and is extensively shock/vibration tested.

The stringent opto-mechanical requirements for single-mode fiber beam coupling have traditionally made combining multiple fiber-coupled lasers a complex task. Typically, a highly stable, precision alignment system was required to align the laser to the fiber; combining multiple lasers necessitated the cost and complexity of dichroic beamsplitters, polarizers and waveplates at each successive laser wavelength. In contrast, OBIS Galaxy uses a cost-effective implementation of refractive, passive optical components and a novel fiber with constant numerical aperture (NA) over the entire 405 nm to 640 nm range. This reduces the task to simple plug-and-play with FC fiber connectors.

The main applications for OBIS Galaxy will be in bioinstrumentation, including flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, where multiple wavelengths enable simultaneous and/or tandem use of multiple fluorescent probes and markers. This will include new instruments and configurations, as well as providing an upgrade path for limited-architecture instruments. For example, OBIS Galaxy can be connected to a single laser input port in a cytometer, thus converting it into eight ports, analogous to the use of a computer USB hub.

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Petra Wallenta
Coherent GmbH
PR Manager Europe / MARCOM Manager Excimer

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