Medical Design Briefs - February 2024 - 52

Design Briefs
a wide spectrum. In this approach, OPO
lasers convert the fundamental wavelength
of pulsed mode Nd:YAGs to the
selected frequency. An OPO laser can be
tuned to a very specific wavelength resolution
by simply punching in a number
like 410, 410.1, or 410.2 nm. Some tests
require high- resolution wavelengths and
with a broadband light source, which
may not be able achievable.
Testing the Limits of Optical
Components
Many optical components are sensitive
to certain wavelengths, and destructive
damage testing determines the limits
of what the material can withstand.
Laser-induced damage threshold testing
(LIDT) is one example.
Certain wavelengths can trigger photochemical
reactions in optical materials,
changing their molecular structure or
chemical composition and making them
less effective. Some materials can absorb
specific wavelengths of light, leading to
localized heating and potential thermal
damage. When the intensity of the light
exceeds the damage threshold of the
material, it can lead to melting, evaporation,
cracking, or other forms of physical
damage.
Optical fibers and components often
have protective coatings that are also
vulnerable to damage from certain
wavelengths. For instance, UV light
can cause photodegradation of coatings,
reducing their protective properties.
One of the most common applications
is fiber optics, where prolonged
exposure to high-intensity laser light
can cause various forms of damage, including
photodarkening, photobleaching,
coating degradation, and thermal
effects. To test fiber optic strands, laser
light is transmitted from one end
to the other to assess the performance
and characteristics of the fiber.
To determine peak power, for example,
pulse-based OPO lasers can deliver
concentrated bursts of energy in short
durations measured in nanoseconds.
Because peak power is calculated by dividing
the energy of a single pulse by the
pulse duration, OPO lasers can deliver
megawatts of energy, versus milliwatts for
continuous wave lasers.
Some manufacturers may also want to
perform continuous testing over time
to ascertain whether an optical material
may change over time. One concern is
solarization, or photobleaching, which can
occur due to prolonged exposure to UV
or other forms of radiation. Solarization
causes a gradual increase in the absorption
of light, leading to a decrease in fiber
performance - a concern with fiber
optic materials.
The effects of solarization are even
more pronounced in the deep UV
range, which generally refers to wavelengths
below 210 nm. To mitigate UV
effects, fiber optics providers apply special
chemistry treatments and utilize
unique optical materials to prevent light
absorption and UV damage in deep UV
wavelengths.
OPO lasers can be designed to generate
wavelengths down to 190 nm
through multiple stages of optical conversion.
Unlike typical fixed wavelength
deep UV lasers, OPO lasers are solidstate
and so do not require expensive
consumables such as specialized gas or
chemical mixtures as the lasing medium.
To qualify fiber optics for deep UV
and validate the chemistry and coatings
for the optical material, manufacturers
must be able to test the product to ensure
that the optical material will transmit
without degradation at shorter UV
wavelengths.
Given the potential variety of tests
at various wavelengths, optical component
manufactures should consider the
merits of pulse-based OPO lasers. The
flexibility and resolution provided are
ideal for determining the absorption,
transmission, and reflection characteristics
of materials and coatings, as
well as damage testing. In doing so,
manufacturers can ensure that optical
products perform as expected and over
time.
This article was written by Mark Little,
PhD, Technical and Scientific Marketing
Consultant for Opotek, LLC, Carlsbad,
CA. For more information, call 760-9290770
or visit www.opotek.com.
Unlocking Innovation in Small-Scale Fluid Control
Disc pumps offer silent operation, a compact form factor, and high-precision
control.
By Emma Wilson, The Lee Company
P
52
ump systems are ubiquitous in
medical and life science products,
from blood pressure monitors and
drug-delivery devices, to pipettors and
diagnostic instruments. As the demand
for smaller, less intrusive - sometimes
even wearable - products grow, engineers
must meet these expectations
without compromising on pump system
performance.
For many years, motor-driven pump
technology has been the only solution to
this challenge. However, this technology
can cause an array of issues that impact
the performance of the device and the
end user experience. By their design,
these pumps are noisy and heavy, suffer
from flow pulsation and mechanical vibration,
and offer very poor control due
to their high inertia and inability to react
quickly to set point changes.
When selecting the right pump technology
for a device, there used to be a
trade-off between operational advantagwww.medicaldesignbriefs.com
es
that improve user experience (small
size, low noise, etc.) and pump system
performance (flow rate, pressure/vacuum
capacity etc.). Often, the higher the
capacity of the pump, the heavier and
noisier it is.
However, more recently engineers
have been turning to a piezo technology
known as the disc pump (see Figure 1 and
the sidebar, " What Is a Disc Pump " ). This
technology has a unique set of features
including silent operation, compact form
Medical Design Briefs, February 2024
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Medical Design Briefs - February 2024

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