Frost & Sullivan Recognition for Liekki Corporation's Technology Leadership
A landmark in doped optical fibre manufacturing, Liekki's Direct Nanoparticle Deposition (DND) technology is also proving itself in other areas -- thereby demonstrating its platform characteristics. The core of this technology is a novel way of manufacturing nanoparticles and nanocoatings with accurate control of the material properties. Liekki has already licensed the use of the DND technology for the production of 'self-cleaning' ceramic tiles and flat-glass colouring and coating (UV filtering and self-cleaning). The company expects its technology platform to find use in multiple sectors, and is actively pursuing licensing.
“In Liekki's DND process, the precursor solution in the liquid phase is fed directly into the reaction zone, and doping of the core takes place in a single step. This overcomes the usual concentration limit typical to the other processes and provides online control others lack”
With fibre lasers set to dominate the industrial and medical lasers market, the demand for fibres with extremely high doping and accurate materials and composition control in the core is growing. The company's solutions also address the needs of military & aerospace and high power wideband telecommunications systems. Liekki offers a complete suite of active and passive fibres and fibre subassemblies used in a variety of applications built on fibres for amplifiers, lasers and ASE sources.
Conventional doped (active) fibre manufacturing techniques are limited in process accuracy and capability. Large cores, high doping and accurate doping control are difficult to produce and require a multi-step process. In high power applications the core composition is crucial -- poor control of the core material leads to photodarkening, which ruins the fibre performance. "Liekki's new DND technology enables high doping levels with a very homogenous fibre core. Using nanoparticles improves the doping process resulting in superior uniformity, higher concentration and accurate control of the refractive index profile," notes Hrishikesh Bidwe, Research Analyst with Frost & Sullivan. "More importantly, DND technology is unique in that it allows precise control of the active element doping profile independent of the refractive index profile, a crucial feature for next-generation high performance fibres."
Typically, optical fibres are fabricated by flame hydrolysis or chemical vapour deposition (CVD) processes that use gases or high vapour pressure liquids as precursors. Adding rare earth elements and certain co-dopants in the glass is difficult due to the absence of stable volatile high vapour pressure precursors for those materials. Available solution doping processes have several drawbacks and are cumbersome to apply. "In Liekki's DND process, the precursor solution in the liquid phase is fed directly into the reaction zone, and doping of the core takes place in a single step. This overcomes the usual concentration limit typical to the other processes and provides online control others lack," explains Mr. Bidwe. "In this process, the glass is doped in-situ with glass particle formation in such a way that the clustering tendency is low. The DND process enables the mixing of index difference forming materials with other dopant materials during the deposition of the glass particles, thereby improving glass homogeneity composition prior to the sintering phase," he adds. The "online doping" capability is proving important for fibre quality as well: DND fibres show superior resistance to photodarkening due to excellent material composition controllability. The unique single-step doping process also makes manufacturing large core fibres faster and more cost-effective.
Supported by research collaborations with technical universities and a cache of 9 international patent families, 6 granted patents and 29 patent applications, Liekki has a strong IP portfolio including both core patents for its nanotechnology process as well as key patents for optical fibres and their applications.
"Overall, Liekki's outstanding level of innovation and leadership for technology development in the field of doped optical fibres using nanotechnology-enabled processes underlines the company's selection as the Award recipient," concludes Mr. Bidwe.
About Frost & Sullivan
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About Liekki Corporation
Liekki designs, manufactures and markets specialty optical fibers and fiber subassemblies (optical engines) for fiber amplifiers and lasers using its unique and proprietary Direct Nanoparticle Deposition (DND) technology. DND makes it possible to produce state-of-the-art highly doped fibers that minimize required fiber length, have high doping, large core-to-clad ratio, low photodarkening, flat refractive index profile, high efficiency and reduced nonlinear effects. Liekki fibers also have very good usability in terms of splicing properties, temperature and bending characteristics. Liekki products are applied in applications such as high power fiber lasers for industrial manufacturing, military and aerospace, medical applications, telecom amplifiers and ASE light sources.
Liekki invented, developed and commercialized a new, innovative nanoparticle process, Direct Nanoparticle Deposition (DND) for a wide range of industrial applications. Liekki has licensed DND to industrial customers for non-optical applications and will continue to do so.
Liekki is headquartered in Lohja, Finland. Liekki direct sales serves North America, Europe and Asia, supported by our representatives Apollo Electronics Co. Ltd. (China), Connet Fiber Optics Company Ltd. (China), Chon Sun Engineering Co. Ltd. (Korea), IKG Corporation (Japan) and FT Okura (Japan). Liekki products are also available globally through Thorlabs (www.thorlabs.com). For further information, please visit our website at www.liekki.com.