Ciencia Colombia , Bogotá D.C., Viernes, 20 de noviembre de 2015 a las 12:52

Fiber optic laser which improves industrial applications patented

With this light source they can etch or cut thick or robust surfaces. It is also useful in metal forming projects and in molds to perform texturized designs

UN/DICYT This technological development had the support of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Deputy Rector's Office of Research and the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce who granted the patent.


The device was carried out by UNal M.Sc. in Physics and Physics Engineer Jesús David Causado, along with UNal-Medellín School of Physics Professor and Founder and Director of the Photonics and Optoelectronics Research Group Pedro Ignacio Torres Trujillo.


They worked for close to two years fine-tuning this new laser version they have technically called Q–Switching Fiber Optic Laser Device.


The first achievement of this invention was to transform how light was amplified. Typically light is generated in an active media with optical gain (it can be solid, liquid or gas) and in a housing comprised by two mirrors which help amplify its emission in the same manner a guitar amplifies the acoustic waves through its sound box.


For their invention Causado and Torres removed the mirrors and replaced them with etched diffraction grids and fiber optics. In this manner gain is now transferred to the fiber optic in what Torres technically calls “spiked with erbium ions”, in other words crystals are stimulated with erbium with the purpose of amplifying the light to optimal levels.


This modification led them to the new patented technique which acts directly on the diffraction grids of the laser housing and not emitting continuous light but in pulses; when the light is continuous or permanent, although effective it is not always enough to impact surfaces or cutting. When it is sent as a pulse it turns into short light flashes which are repeated thousands of times per second obtaining a more powerful laser.


There is also the possibility of applying lasers in medical practice: “There is a promising future in diagnostic and therapeutic medical areas as well as in surgical procedures which have always required selectivity of the used instrument. We also know the hands of surgeons have limits," said Torres.


This is the second patent granted by the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce to UNal-Medellín professionals. The UNal Professor Guillermo León Mesa headed Applied Technologies Research Group (GITA, for its Spanish acronym) has also previously received a patent in alliance with the Medellín Public Utilities Company for a method to detect anomalies in 100 megawatt power generator rotors installed in hydroelectric, thermoelectric or low-power wind power generators.