The Two projects, called Miracle and Gradiom, are financed by the DGA under the RAPID scheme and involve ALPhANOV.
By using technology that is of interest to defense, the DGA’s (Direction générale de l’armement) "Rapid" funding is intended to support industrial projects, capable of developing products with a civilian purpose.
In this context, ALPhANOV is now a partner in two projects: Miracle, carried by the company Leukos, and Gradiom, carried by the company Muquans.
Through the Miracle (Mid infrared advanced supercontinuum laser) project, Leukos and Le Verre Fluoré have allied themselves with ALPhANOV in order to bring a supercontinuous laser to market, emitting wavelengths greater than 5 μm in the infrared range. The project’s kick-off meeting was held on October 11, 2016, in Limoges.
Currently, commercial supercontinuum laser sources are mainly based on silica optical fibers and are consequently spectrally limited between 400 nm and 2.4 μm, due to the absorption of the material. However, many applications such as the detection of chemical and biological species require the extension of the spectrum emitted by these sources towards the ultraviolet or the middle infrared. In response to this request, Le Verre Fluoré has developed a 0.7 W supercontinuum source ranging from 700 to 4000 nm. Other applications require a spectral density and therefore a higher power, beyond the Watt.
Scientific (molecular microscopy, spectroscopy), civil (medical) and military (optical countermeasures, detection of chemical agents) motivations are therefore needed to develop supercontinuum sources of power in the medium infrared emitting above 4 μm.
For the past two years, a collaboration between ALPhANOV and Leukos on supercontinuum laser sources emitting in the visible and near infrared has resulted in a transfer of technology between the two entities. For its part, Le Verre Fluoré has developed a single-mode Indium fiber to produce a supercontinuous laser emitting up to 4.5 μm. As part of the Miracle project, carried out by Leukos, ALPhANOV will develop a pump laser at a wavelength of at least 2 μm in locked mode. Leukos will integrate the supercontinuum source based on the laser developed by ALPhANOV and the fibers developed by Le Verre Fluoré. The main objective at the end of the project is to be able to market an infrared supercontinuum source within two years.