M Squared had a great week at DAMOP in Quebec City this week. Thanks to everyone that came along to our reception. Looking forward to seeing you next year or sooner at CLEO or ICOLS next week.
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Dr Graeme Malcolm, CEO of M Squared Lasers, recently attended the launch of the UK Fraunhofer CAP at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London with a keynote speech from the UK Government Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vincent Cable, MP.
Centre stage was the Firefly-IR scanner, a man portable infrared scanner and imager which can produce video images of gas emissions at large stand off distances.
It turns out that Dr Cable is familiar with the part of Glasgow where M Squared is located having lived and studied in Glasgow many years ago.
A short animation illustrating our commitment to effortless high performance lasing and extreme customer service:
A SolsTiS ti sapphire laser is thrown from a third floor fire escape ...
The Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics opened in
Glasgow yesterday. The ceremony was attended by our CEO, Dr. Graeme
Malcolm, who gave a presentation welcoming the Fraunhofer team to
Glasgow and highlighting the exciting programme of work that M
Squared Lasers is already collaborating on with the
We have already commented on the significance of the
Fraunhofer's decision to locate its centre of excellence for
photonics here in Scotland, the reasons for which include Glasgow's
industrial heritage in shipbuilding and opto-electronics, local
academic institutions of global significance such as Strathclyde
University's Institute of Photonics, and perhaps most importantly
Scotland's healthy stock of dynamic, growing photonics businesses
such as M Squared Lasers.
Local businesses are important in the Fraunhofer
model because it is collaborative and needs a commercial edge in
order to be successful and sustainable. M Squared is already
collaborating with Fraunhofer on a programme which has delivered
more than a million pounds of revenue to the Centre and which
harnesses our relationships with Scottish universities, our world
class scientists, R&D and manufacturing facilities, and perhaps
above all our collaborative culture and desire to explore.
M Squared Lasers has recently succeeded in extending
the wavelength range of the SolsTiS ti sapphire laser down to 670
nm. (Previously the tuning range was 700-1,000 nm). Due to it's
compact size, easy tuning via netbook and hands-free functioning,
the SolsTiS has become a tool of choice for quantum optics research
groups around the world in recent years. A major application is
atom cooling with many of our customers conducting experiments
involving optical lattices of ultra cold atoms. Extending the
working range down to 670 nm is significant because it makes it
possible to cool and trap lithium atoms.
Why trap lithium (as opposed to, say, rubidium)? It
happens that lithium atoms are particularly well suited to
formation of pairs wherein the atoms have a spin characteristic
which can be manipulated. This makes it possible to control spin
patterns across an optical lattice, a precursor to a range of
A leading application of ultra cold lithium atoms
trapped in an optical lattice is a quantum simulation. Lithium
offers researchers control over spin as well as position and from
this the ability to create simple quantum systems that simulate the
quantum dynamics of problems that defy computer modelling because
of the vast amount of memory that would be needed to cope with the
very large number of variables.
The notion of quantum simulation was suggested by
Richard Feynman in a 1981 lecture. Recent work by customers of M
Squared Lasers has demonstrated that ultra cold atoms trapped in
optical lattices are an effective route to creating such
simulations due to the extent of control that experimenters can
exert over the atoms. Lasers can even be used to flip the spin of
individual atoms. Recent experiments have also produced amazing
images using a high resolution microscope which captures the
fluorescence from atoms trapped in a single plane of an optical
lattice. The image below is from an article by Professor Immanuel
Bloch which appears in the March 2013 edition of Physics World and
shows a typical picture of atoms trapped in the lattice.
(An optical lattice is an atom trap generated by
interfering laser beams which create a fixed polarised structure
with periodic maxima and minima. Atoms are trapped and cooled in
the potential minima with the resulting structure looking like a
crystal lattice - often represented graphically as something like
eggs in an egg box).
We're just back from SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco. It
was a great show and the perfect occasion to launch our new event
Singing in the rain and no sign of jet lag:
The booth arrived in crates and flight cases.
It took a couple of days to build.
Hard work behind the scenes. No business like show business!
Up and running!
With most of our lasers exported there's no shortage
of opportunities of our team to explore the world. One of
our team, Daniel Aitken, recently made a mini tour of China and
South Korea and Japan. Over the course of several weeks Daniel
worked alongside our local representatives visiting several
customers and installing many laser systems. This kind of adventure
is not unusual for our team as they cover the world.
On this occasion Daniel was lost in translation for a
while, snowbound in Seoul in a minus-twenty freezeover at the
airport. Check it out:
In order to stay warm in the airport hotel, Daniel
was able to practice his version of the gangnam style dance in
preparation for our big Christmas Party next week. Everyone's
looking forward to seeing that.
In the end it was all white on the night: our
customers had their lasers installed and Daniel is now safe and
sound back at HQ.
Oppan M Squared Style! ... Eh, hands free
laser ... op op op M Squared Style!
Hyperspectral remote sensing involves the detection
or identification of substances at a distance. For example, using
laser light of various wavelengths to identify specific, dangerous
toxic or explosive hydrocarbons at a safe distance. Multiple
wavelengths of light can be used by a single device (such as the
Firefly-IR mid-infrared tuneable laser) to scan for multiple unique
Typical remote sensing applications include stand-off
detection of explosives, food quality inspection, or scanning for
gas leaks on oil platforms, pipelines and processing plant; any
situation where hyperspectral imaging can be used to scan for
telltale "fingerprints" or spectral signatures and where distance
is required for operator safety.
M Squared Lasers provides hyperspectral remote
sensing solutions to a range of organisations in various sectors
including oil and gas, defence and food & drink.
It's only September but we're starting to think
ahead to Photonics West 2013 (Feb 2-5 at Moscone Center in San
Francisco - currently our booth allocation is 2517 South Hall).
We're excited about our new exhibition booth which will have its
first outing at the event, and also about some of the activity
that's already starting to take shape. For example, we're
sponsoring a THz imaging seminar at BiOS - part of SPIE Photonics
West 2013, BiOS is a global forum on the frontier of
biomedical imaging, biophotonics, optical microscopy, optogenetics
and, generally, the intersection of optics, photonics and molecular
biology, diagnostics and therapeutics.
Sponsoring the event at BiOS sits well with
some other research we're involved in at Strathclyde University in
Scotland. Together with the University itself, the Scottish
Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) and the Scottish Universities
Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) we have been funding work on the use
of terahertz spectroscopy in bimolecular analysis.
Terahertz radiation is part of the
electromagnetic spectrum and sits between the far-infrared and the
microwave bands at approximately 0.1-20 THz. As it lies
between the infrared and the microwave parts of the spectrum,
terahertz shares some of their features such as microwaves' ability
to pass through non-conducting materials such as masonry and
clothing (but it can't pass through water or water vapour). This
makes it very useful in imaging / scanning applications such as
providing "eyes" for helicopter pilots landing and taking off in
clouds of dust.
It has applications in medical imaging because, while
it can penetrate living tissue like an X-ray, the photon energy is
much lower and so much less damaging. The work we are supporting at
Strathclyde University makes use of the potential of low frequency
terahertz radiation to detect intermolecular interactions including
van der Waals forces and hydrogen bonding (in turn because organic
molecules exhibit low frequency vibrational modes deriving from
interactions among bonded atoms inside molecules). Applications
investigated include analysis of DNA, amino acids and peptides. THz
spectra have been obtained for complex molecules such as both
double and single-stranded DNA. Clear spectra were also obtained
for single amino acids but the increasing complexity of peptides
masked a clear signal in the range the team investigated.
Keep an eye on our website for the forthcoming
publication of the new datasheet for the Firefly-THz, our tuneable,
maintenance free, hands free, ultra compact terahertz source which
is used in engineering inspection, security, and biomedical
Special thanks to T. Harwood and Dr. E. Ellis at
Strathclyde Insititute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science.
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