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Hamamatsu Photonics

5th Technology Days

Topics

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    Fresh from the Lab in:

    Analytics and NDT

    Low-dose X-ray imaging (source, imagers)

    Today’s digital flat-panel sensors for medical, dental and NDT applications have reached a size of 40x30 cm, and it has become possible to reduce the X-ray dose two-fold in comparison to film. An additional dose reduction by a factor of 10 is obtained by changing from scintillation-based to direct conversion with suitable semiconductor detectors. In this way we are coming close to the holy grail of medical X-ray imaging: Detecting and counting each incident X-ray photon, while simultaneously knowing its energy.

    Portable X-ray analysis (source, lens, energy-selective sensing) Abstract coming soon

    Portable micro-Raman spectroscopy

    Raman spectroscopy is a sensitive and extremely selective method for non-contact analysis of materials in a wide range of applications, covering medical, environmental, agricultu­ral/food, public safety and quality control applications. Employing the latest achievements in optical systems miniaturization, detector sensitivity improvements and surface-enhanced Raman signal amplification, it has become possible to realize micro-Raman systems with the form factor of smartphones.

    Confocal microscopy module

    Confocal fluorescence microscopy is a powerful tool in the life sciences. Until now, such specialized microscopes were quite expensive and not easy to adapt to novel specifications. Hamamatsu has developed a highly modular confocal microscopy system that is simply attached to a side port of any suitable, commercially available microscopy model. Up to four different fluorescence excitation wavelength modules can be put into a common housing for quasi-simultaneous multi-wavelength confocal fluorescence microscopy measurements.

    Tunable Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCL)

    Abstract coming soon
    Compact FTIR engine for portable NIR/MIR spectroscopy

    The mid-infrared spectral range from about 2 to 12 micrometers is also called “diagnostic spectral range” due to the high specificity of the “spectral fingerprints” that can be acquired for a large variety of materials. To make this technology available for many more applications, Hamamatsu has developed a miniaturized micro-FTIR (Fourier Transform Infra-Red) spectroscopy module, making use of a single, highly integrated micro-mechanical system made with techniques borrowed from semiconductor manufacturing.

     

     

    Presentation: Novel imaging techniques for diagnostics and non-destructive testing

     

    The importance of image sensing and imaging techniques has risen dramatically in the past decade. As an example, consider the recent forecast that in 2019 more than 6 billion image sensors will be sold and integrated into systems with imaging capabilities. As a consequence, Hamamatsu is making great efforts to develop novel image sensing devices and imaging techniques, to meet the increasing image-generation requirements of our customers. Of particular importance are the medical and the professional NDT (non-destructive testing) markets, where the expectations regarding performance, reliability and image quality are particularly high. Examples of such novel products, currently under development for forthcoming market introduction, include the following:

    Low-dose X-ray imaging, capable of reducing the patient’s X-ray dose by a factor of ten, is made possible through replacing today’s scintillation-based X-ray detection by direct conversion with suitable semiconductors.

    Hamamatsu’s continuing efforts in miniaturizing both X-ray sources and detector electronics has led to novel portable equipment for portable X-ray analysis. A good example is the new generation of XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) micro-spectrometer systems for high-quality environmental analysis and non-contact material characterization in the field.

    A similar trend in spectrometer miniaturization for ultra-portable spectroscopic analysis products is also achieved with Hamamatsu’s novel optoelectronic components for Raman micro-spectroscopy: Micro-Raman modules, detector sensitivity improvements and special SERS substrates (Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy) make it possible today to build very sensitive and highly selective Raman analysis instruments with the form factor of smartphones.

    A modular approach has also enabled a breakthrough in affordable confocal microscopy: By attaching up to four such modules to the side-port of any suitable, commercially available microscope model, it has become possible to convert such a microscope into a quasi-simultaneous multi-wavelength confocal fluorescence microscopy instrument, which is an extremely powerful tool in the life sciences.

    The infrared wavelength range from 2 to 12 micrometres is also called “diagnostic spectral range” because of the high specificity of the “spectral fingerprints” that can be acquired rapidly in a non-contact way. Hamamatsu’s new DFB Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) are extremely valuable components for the realization of miniaturized high-precision gas-sensing equipment. QCLs are of particular interest for this application, because the emission wavelength can be swept electronically over a significant spectral range. Both CW as well as pulsed QCL products in the wavelength range 4.3-10 microns are becoming available shortly.

    Instead of sweeping the wavelength of a laser diode as in QCLs, it is possible to implement even smaller and more affordable MIR (mid-infrared) spectroscopy solutions by combining a broad-band MIR light source and a corresponding micro-spectrometer module. Hamamatsu’s micro-FTIR (Fourier Transform Infra-Red) module consists of a single, highly integrated MOEMS component (Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical System) for the realization of ultra-compact FTIR spectrometer products, perfectly fitting also into a smart phone.

     

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    VCSEL and Beam Steering

    VCSEL and VCSEL array technology Abstract coming soon

    iPMSEL

    Phase-modulating Surface-emitting Laser

    The novel and Hamamatsu-exclusive iPMSEL devices are CGH components which are illuminated with surface-propagating light waves. Small holes (of the order of 100 nm) act as secondary light sources, whose position determines the phase of the emitted “elementary light source”. Since no external light source is required, extremely compact light-pattern generating elements can be realized, with a typical diameter of 1-3 mm.

    Principles of computer-generated holography

    As Nobel Prize winner Dennis Gabor pointed out, any 3D light distribution can be generated by producing a suitable wavefront through manipulation of the 2D phase distribution of a plane wave (at a given wavelength). This is employed in CGH technology, where 2D phase modulation platelets are calculated and produced using techniques borrowed from semiconductor manufacturing. These CGH modules can be used to generate arbitrary and very large light distributions with millimeter-size optical components.

    LCOS - SLM - Spatial Light Modulators

    SLM modules are optical components that are able to generate arbitrary 2D phase distributions and change them at video rate. In this way, it becomes possible to compute “dynamic CGH phase planes” and feed them to such SLM modules for real-time image generation. The power handling capabilities of these SLM modules are so high that they can even be used for laser marking, cutting and machining.

    Micro-mirrors 

    For a long time, the goal in photonics was to replace mechanical elements by electronically-scanned components. The ubiquitous DMD (digital mirror devices) found in many beamer products have changed this thinking. In some applications – not the least LiDAR systems for autonomous cars and robots – mechanical scanning leads to superior system solutions. For these purposes, Hamamatsu has developed a range of very reliable 1D and 2D micromirror modules. Modulation frequency can be as high as 50 kHz, making use of the micro-mirror resonance mode. Major applications include large-area display and time-of-flight 3D cameras.

    Large-area organic LEDs

    The realization that organic materials can exhibit semiconducting properties has led to a flurry of R&D activities in “organic electronics” and “organic photonics” over the past 30 years. In particular, large-area image sensors and light sources (oLEDs) are of high commercial interest, because they can be manufactured by low-cost, large-area (square meters or more) technologies. However, it has proven difficult to produce oPDs and oLEDs with high operational stability – in the past, optoelectronic performance deteriorated after a few hundred hours of continuing operation. Through a novel technological breakthrough, Hamamatsu has been able to produce very stable, high-quality yet low-cost oLEDs with operational lifetimes of many thousand hours.

     

     

    Presentation: Large-area display technologies

     

    Our digital society has an insatiable appetite for data – and after processing, these need to be displayed in suitable form for human beings. Today’s ubiquitous display solution consists of a large-area array of color LEDs (red-green-blue), which are found everywhere from digital watches over smartphones to TV sets and electronic billboards. However, video projectors (“beamers”) based on miniature DMD (Digital Mirror Device) or LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) devices are good examples for the creation of large imagery with small-scale, affordable systems. Hamamatsu is actively developing such cost-effective large-area display solutions, making use of several different technological approaches:

    Lasers are becoming easier to produce and to package if they are manufactured wafer-scale and their emission is perpendicular to the wafer surface. Such VCSELs (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers) are found in a large number of products these days. Hamamatsu has optimized the manufacturing of these VCSELs, such that it becomes also possible to fabricate VCSEL arrays. In this way, the output power of the emitted laser light can be increased by large factors, simply by increasing the area covered by the VCSEL array.

    For the generation of images it is necessary that corresponding wave-fronts are generated, as pointed out by Nobel-prize-winner Dennis Gabor. His famous technique of holography, previously implemented with photographic emulsions, can profit substantially from novel digital technologies. A so-called Computer-Generated Hologram (CGH) is a simple yet versatile approach to generate large-area imagery with a miniature device: Just a millimetre-size projection system consisting of a laser diode and a phase-modifying CGH platelet are required.

    While conventional CGH projectors are static, Hamamatsu’s LCOS-SLM system is able to create CGH patterns in real-time and to generate arbitrary wave-fronts and phase distributions – and therefore also imagery of any size. The power-handling capacity of the new generation of LCOS-SLM is so high that it can be even employed for laser marking, cutting and machining.

    Hamamatsu has developed a novel projection device, consisting of a single light-emission and phase-modulation device, essentially combining distributed, side-emitting laser structures and a CGH device on a millimetre-size platelet. This so-called iPMSEL (integrated Phase-Modulating Surface-Emitting Laser) is an extremely compact light-pattern generator that can also be used to create time-varying imagery on large areas.

    As demonstrated by the DMDs in video projectors, optomechanical scanning can lead to superior system performance and higher cost-effectiveness. This is true both for image generation as well as for LIDAR/TOF scanning. In particular, this required for high-accuracy 3D image acquisition under extremely high background light conditions, as is typically the case in autonomous cars driving in full daylight. Hamamatsu has developed a range of very reliable 1D and 2D micromirror modules, with a (resonant) modulation/scanning frequency of up to 50 kHz.

    Although it has been known for many years that organic LEDs can be fabricated on very large (poster-size) areas at low cost, no product has made a commercial appearance until now. The problem is the operational stability of these devices that are sensitive to moisture, to oxygen and to UV light. Hamamatsu has recently made a breakthrough in the production of very stable, high-quality yet low-cost organic LEDs with operational lifetimes of many thousand hours. This could be the long-sought technology for affordable large-area color displays, for which a plethora of applications exist.

     

     

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  • MPPC/ SiPM and 3D Imaging

    Recent advances in MPPC technology

    It took about 380 000 years for the Universe to be transparent to light. The footprint of this event is still with us and its details are a map of the evolution since then. Light made free marks the journey that eventually made  life possible and it is through light that we sense the world around us, with our eyes and with some of the most advanced instruments mankind continues to develop.

     

    The talk will overview some of the most recent advances in light sources and detectors, with a focus on what results by the exploitation of the semiconductor technology (Silicon and beyond). Exemplary illustrations of novel methods and instruments will be provided, application driven or technology pushed, to explore, measure space & time and see beyond what our eyes can see, to get  an extended perception of reality.

    MPPC-on-CMOS
    Multi-channel pulsed laser diode module
    Scanning engine for 3D imaging
    Novel applications of MPPCs and single-photon sensing

     

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