This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 315744

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APE is a German SME, with more than 60 employees, leader in the field of commercial optical parametric oscillators (OPOs), harmonic generation, ultrafast diagnostics for complete pulse characterization as well as pulse pickers including driver in design, manufacturing and worldwide sales of these instruments.
APE has been one of the first companies to introduce commercial OPOs as well as instruments for complete pulse characterization, is recognized as a world leader in its field, and has pioneered many new products over the years.

APE offers a unique combination of scientific expertise of its members and background in industrial production of lasers, which is of primary importance for the successful completion of the program.
Markets include scientific applications such as Raman Microscopy, Multiphoton Imaging in the IR and providing diagnostics for a large variety of ultrafast lasers. APE has sales in Europe and Asia with its own affiliate the United States serving the North and South American continent.
Products include optical parametric oscillators, optical parametric amplifiers (OPA) in the IR, harmonic generators, autocorrelators as well as FROG (frequency resolved optical gating) and SPIDER (Spectral Phase Interferometry for Direct Electric Field Reconstruction) as well as pulse
pickers and acousto-optical modulators with custom drivers.
APE has identified tunable high speed ultrafast lasers as a very attractive market opportunity, but, as a SME, does not have the necessary resources to pursue the required research on its own.

Role in the project
APE has long standing experience in the development and commercial manufacturing of optical parametric devices (OPOs as well as OPAs) and harmonic generation for
wavelength extension, ultrafast diagnostics as well as associated electronic drivers, e.g. used in pulse pickers.
The company’s expertise includes the design of the parametric crystals needed for the parametric devices, fabrication of the optical setup as well as the electronic driver and computer programming to control and automate the systems. Advanced versions of the OPOs are completely automated and can be controlled via computer. Further APE’s expertise includes systems for full pulse characterization.
APE will work with MBI to take an amplifier design and apply its engineering expertise with the aim of being able to develop an OPA system optimized for the desired pulse parameters and scope of the development which is efficient for manufacture and can be offered commercially. Further APE will work with CNRS to adapt existing full characterization technique to work in the visible to fully characterize the tunable OPA in the visible.
The project complements the company strategic plan and draws as well on its existing collaboration in supply of a specialized OPA with one of the consortiums partners, and increases APE’s experience in practical applications of OPA systems.

Expected benefits from the project
The OPCPA for extreme ultrashort short pulses or for tunable visible ultrashort pulses designed by MBI and CNRS with contribution by APE would enable APE’s product offerings to the attosecond laser market segment as well as increase APE's product offerings in the biomedical imaging market segment.
These abilities fit in with other work being performed as part of the company’s strategic plan and will deepen existing collaboration with different partners of this consortium.
APE has identified optical parametric amplifiers as a well suited extension of its optical parametric oscillator portfolio with a broader range than the above mentioned two segments.
By developing a commercial version of the OPA for the special pulse parameters targeted in this project, APE will apply the technology to other market segments with a corresponding increase in sales of systems to the scientific market.




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