A·P·E GmbH, Germany
1. Describe the profound impact your technology – as part of an end-user product – has had on Society. How has the population been impacted by your technology. This could be behavioral, economical, societal, etc.
A·P·E’s OPO technology facilitated transfer nonlinear microscopy techniques such as CARS, SRS and multi-photon microscopy to become an important tool in many scientific disciplines. A·P·E has spent almost 20 years to turn the optical parametric oscillator (OPO) into a technology which now can be used by virtually anybody. 20 years ago an OPO was a complicated setup which could only be operated and maintained in only a few highly specialized laser labs worldwide. Today, the most recent generation of A·P·E’s OPO is reduced to a compact and robust box, which can be operated by anybody without any training. This perfection of technology enabled the OPO to become an important tool, e.g., an A·P·E OPO has become an integral part of almost any multi-photon microscope used in the world. These microscopes have enabled many discoveries in the fields on biology, life science, and health research. Even new microscopy techniques were developed using highly specialized OPOs developed by A·P·E.
2. Tell us about how your technology is unique? What makes it stand out? How do you differentiate it from other similar technologies?
The line of A·P·E OPOs is based on a long standing experience in building ultrafast laser technology combined with A·P·E’s expertise in electronics and automation. The A·P·E OPOs are unique in their tuning performance and stability. The degree of integration into one single box is extraordinary. The complete automatization of the technology, fully remote controlled and hands-free operation, allows the user to simply type in a wavelength, regardless the involved physics needed to tune to the specific wavelength. This is achieved by years of research on every component of the OPO including but not limited to the nonlinear crystal design and the optical coatings. But it really is the unique combination of engineering perfection and innovative physics, that sets the A·P·E OPO apart from any other light source. With an A·P·E OPO the user can focus on his experiment again and not on the light source.
3.When first launched, did your technology make a transformational change for the end-user or was it an advancement of the prior art? Describe this.
The use of an OPO in multi-photon microscopy represents a dramatic change of the parameter range and therefore for the entire technology. Prior to the OPO introduction by A·P·E, the multi-photon microscopy was relying on a few wavelengths where ultrashort laser pulses were available from direct laser sources, with very limited tuning ranges. The access to easy-to-use OPOs, completely remote controlled by a user software or microscope, for the first time allowed the end user to perform multi-photon microscopy in a continuous tuning range, which not only is including all previous wavelengths. Only the access to these new wavelengths enabled advanced imaging methods to be developed.
4.Give a specific example (with company names) of the buying chain for your product/technology once you sell it to the next level buyer. Provide an example of the succession of companies your product goes through, ultimately to get to an end-user.
A·P·E has developed two ways to be an vital part of the OPO buying chain. First, the Chameleon Compact OPO: We produce an OPO omtimized for femtosecond pump lasers that we sell as an OEM product to a laser systems manufacturer (e.g., Coherent Inc.) which either sells directly to an end-user or to a medical OEM (e.g., Leica AG, Zeiss AG), who then sells it to a university or imaging center. Second, picoEmerald: We buy a Laser source and integrate it with an OPO and additional electronics. This product is then sold worldwide to the end-user via our network of distributers or further integrates into a system by an OEM customer (e.g. Leica AG) and then sold to the end-user.
5. In which vertical market(s) would you classify the end-users of this technology?
6. If other, please write in the specific market
7. Give us your one sentence “elevator pitch” you would use to tell a non-technical person about your technology and the critical role it plays in Society.
If you see a colorful nonlinear microscopy image of a cell in a scientific paper or journal, most likely the colors are coming from a light source build by our small company in Berlin, Germany.
8.Surprise Us! What else should we know about your product/technology?
Since microscopy is only one of the possible applications of an OPO, we produced a small video to present the OPO technology and the very active role of A·P·E in its development in a video. This video can be found on youtube: http://youtu.be/_BjWMBZuMCo.