Spin-out research companies create new laser technologies worth £30 million
Our pioneering laser research has led to two spin-out companies: Lynton Lasers and Laser Quantum. Together, these two companies' turnover is more than £30 million every year.
Lasers have become ubiquitous tools for modern society, used in barcode scanners, hair removal, CD players and many industrial processes. Over the past 20 years extensive laser experimentation and development by the Laser Photonics Research Group at The University of Manchester has led to the creation of two highly successful spin-out companies: Lynton Lasers Ltd and Laser Quantum Ltd.
Lynton Lasers has an annual turnover of £6.5 million.
Lynton Lasers, formed in 1994, applies Manchester's research to produce laser-based tools for aesthetic and cosmetic surgery. A range of instruments use lasers for tattoo and hair removal and the treatment of vascular lesions. Clinical practitioners are taught how to use the surgical tools at regular training courses led by the photon physicists in the Department of Physics. These courses help to disseminate the very latest research findings on laser techniques to clinicians and healthcare workers.
All of Lynton Lasers' products are developed from a deep understanding of how human tissue reacts to the light from lasers. The intense pulsed light (IPL) systems developed by the Manchester research team allow surgeons to cut or heat tiny areas of tissue with great precision without causing any damage to neighbouring regions.
Lynton Lasers employs 45 people.
Lynton Lasers boasts a 12% market share of IPL sources. One client commented: "My Lynton system has enabled me to deliver 100% satisfaction and results to my patients… [I have] increased my business turnover by another 55%."
Lynton Lasers employs around 45 people, has over 1,000 systems in the field and an annual turnover of £6.5 million. Each year Lynton Lasers systems are used to treat over 10,000 patients; these treatments generate turnover in the region of £6 million every year for private clinics and treatment centres.
Laser Quantum Ltd was originally founded by a small team at The University of Manchester's Laser Photonics Group in 1994 and focused initially on diode pumped solid state (DPSS) lasers for scientific users. After moving to its purpose-built facilities in Stockport it has since grown to become the UK's largest laser manufacturer, producing over 3,000 lasers per year including both DPSS and Ti:Sapphire ultrafast lasers at its headquarters in Stockport and its subsidiaries in Konstanz and Hannover, Germany and San Jose in California, USA.
Laser Quantum has an annual turnover in excess of £25 million.
Manufacturing wavelengths ranging from UV to IR in the continuous wave products, Laser Quantum has helped clients in academia, biomedical research, aerospace and defence to improve their products and take market-share. Known for its high beam specifications, long lifetime and ease of use, Laser Quantum's DPSS lasers have become the laser of choice for many researchers and industrial integrators for a wide range of applications, including confocal and super-resolution microscopy, PIV, semiconductor mask, DNA sequencing and spectroscopy.
Laser Quantum employs over 150 people.
Having acquired Gigaoptics GmbH in 2011, which specialised in GHz repetition rate Ti:sapphire laser systems, and Venteon Laser Technologies in 2014, which specialised in ultrashort femtosecond pulses <5fs, today Laser Quantum offers a range of ultrafast femtosecond Ti:sapphire oscillators and fully integrated lasers. Building on the existing Gigaoptics and Venteon knowledge, and combined with Laser Quantum's exceptional build quality, the Ti:sapphire range includes repetition rates ranging from MHz to several GHz in compact and fully engineered enclosures.
Having gained a worldwide reputation for their reliability and ease of use, Laser Quantum's Ti:sapphire systems can be found in applications including frequency combs for metrology, two-photon microscopy and spectroscopy including THz generation. Utilised by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Theodore Hänsch, Laser Quantum's ultrafast range is increasingly helping researchers push the boundaries of science.
In the emerging field of laser photomedicine, researchers from the Laser Photonics Research Group at The University of Manchester studied how they could use light to treat vascular lesions and other skin conditions. They discovered that a filtered flashlamp, known as an intense pulsed light source (IPL), could treat a variety of different skin lesions. Their experiments showed that lesions at different depths within tissue could be targeted by varying the pulse length of the laser light. They found that even deep lesions can be treated in this way if healthy surface layers are protected by treating them with a cooling cryogen spray prior to the laser treatment.
The researchers also investigated other laser sources, such as fibre lasers, to see how light from these devices interacted with tissues. This work informed the development of new laser devices by Lynton Lasers that are being used for hair and tattoo removal.
Other researchers from the group have focused on understanding and developing the family of compact and efficient lasers known as diode-pumped laser sources. Their work improved the efficiency and power of these solid state lasers by spectrally matching sources with pump bands. The main research findings from these experiments showed that:
- Yb-doped S-FAP (strontium fluorapatite, Sr5(PO4)3F) could be efficiently pumped by diode lasers;
- Yb-doped S-FAP was an efficient 1-µm source that could be Q-switched easily;
- high efficiency lasers can be made using Er- and Pr-doped glasses;
- a Tm laser can be efficiently pumped by an Yb silica laser.