A PMC is a compact optical-fibre based component built for integration and use with lasers. PMC products are based upon HC-PCF, held in place on a spool, filled with a gas, housed in a mechanical casing and and then integrated with a pump source to produce a new form of laser.
The presence of gas within an optical fibre on a micron scale provides a million-fold increase in the gas-laser efficiency compared to traditional lasing methods and opens up the unique ability to produce new wavelengths and hence create new applications. Traditionally optical fibres are made of a solid transparent material, whereas HC-PCF consists of a hexagonal array of holes within silica along with a central air core along which the light propagates. There are different variants of HC-PCF used within the PMC family of components. The wide pitch of HC-PCF makes it ideal for laser applications, increasing the bandwidth over which it can transmit. One particular wide pitch structure, called Kagome Fibre produces particularly good results with a high damage threshold and a very wide bandwidth. A double band gap HC-PCF transmits two wavelengths with similar properties to single band gap fibre.
HC-PCF is the key component with the PMC. The fibre is thinner than a hair, so even in long lengths it can be spooled to a very compact size. The fibre can be loaded with virtually any gas at any pressure ranging from 1μTorr to several Bar. The ends of the HC-PCF are then hermetically spliced to conventional optical fibre or other forms of optical components to form the gas cell. The gas loading technique has been extended to include atomic vapours such as rubidium, which is notoriously difficult to handle.
The compact nature of the PMC allows it to be easily integrated into laser sources and systems. It also opens up the opportunity to make many laser devices portable, which are currently not.
GLO will initially launch two variants of PMC.