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The ultrafast laser Menhir-1550 Series (Img: Menhir Photonics)

The ultrafast laser Menhir-1550 Series (Img: Menhir Photonics)


Basel startup produces versatile lasers

Basel-based startup Menhir Photonics has developed an ultrafast laser that is precise, robust and can be used in a wide range of applications. The startup hopes to contribute to the development of new markets with its versatile laser.

The ultrafast laser developed by Menhir Photonics is precise, reliable, sturdy and robust. And it is exactly these properties that the Basel-based startup is focusing on in its efforts to break into developing markets with high potential. The element of stability is even found in the company’s name: the French word for standing stone is “menhir”.

“Even shaking or hitting our lasers has no impact on the performance,” Florian Emaury, CEO of Menhir Photonics, a spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, said in an article.

The laser is housed in a small box, making it well suited to the growing market for turnkey and compact lasers. These lasers are in demand across a wide range of applications, including scientific use in research laboratories, industrial applications in synchronization electronics, microwave generation and telecommunication, as well as in aviation and space flight.

While these markets are still highly fragmented, Emaury believes that companies which enter such markets at an early stage gain a competitive advantage. For example, Menhir Photonics lasers are used as core components in the development of more global systems, such as particle accelerators.

“Photonics is an enabler technology, and we develop lasers intended to be integrated into complete industrial systems,” Emaury said.

Emaury completed his doctoral thesis under Ursula Keller, a renowned laser expert and ETH Zurich professor. Although Emaury is now CEO of his own company, he and his colleagues continue to rely on experts. For example, the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) is one of Menhir Photonics’ partners.

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