Last week I worked at the CLEO conference in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a fun week- it was nice and sunny, I got a stylee ride both ways (one way in Diesel Jetta & the other in Nissan Hybrid) and ate some really good seafood.
The CLEO conference is a trade show and conference about lasers and optics. When I think about lasers I remember Pink Floyd concerts at the planetarium in New York City. Laser facials, hair removal, light pens. Pretty and prettifying.
The lasers shown at this conference are used in some really interesting applications.
Daylight Solutions was showing how they use lasers to detect chemical agents in the air. A doctor might use one of their lasers to look at one’s breath and then analyze it for healthful or unhealthful components. Think reeeeeally expensive breathalyzer test.
Some of the lasers are high power and short pulse, which creates a lot of energy for cutting and also high precision. IMRA has femtosecond lasers which means that they pulse at one quadrillionth of a second!! The shorter the pulse, the more accurate the cut and that is why this type of laser is used in laser eye surgery.
My favorite booth was Thorlabs. Thorlabs sells pretty much everything to do with optics holders, accessories, motion control and some other stuff I’ve never seen before. They had a really nice booth setup with lots of helpful and smart people who showed me everything until my brain hurt.
Shown below is their awesome logo before the logo is optimized with one of their lenses.