April 07, 2020

The United States was blocked for many years and finally won the breakthrough: China's laser crystal once again leads

Earlier in February 2016, the APC (Advanced Optics Crystals) website of the United States issued a statement announcing the company's collaboration with Clemson University to develop the potassium KBrF crystal (KBBF), which can be used In the manufacture of deep ultraviolet laser. The statement said that in 2009 China began banning the provision of such strategic crystals to foreign countries. The company claims that the crystals they make are comparable to those made in China and outperform Chinese counterparts in some of the key technology areas. The statement said the crystal would enhance the United States' ability to detect national defense threats and will also provide new capabilities for scientific research and measurement technology, which is considered "a game changer."

However, China did not wait for the United States to catch up in this area. According to the website of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in August 2015, a new type of non-beryllium deep ultraviolet non-linear optical crystal material LSBO was discovered by Institute of Fujian Architecture. Reportedly, the newly discovered LSBO crystal is expected to be a good candidate for the next generation of deep UV nonlinear optical crystals.

2009 Chinese "Nature" magazine article "China hides this kind of crystal" reported China embargo KBBF crystal

US APC company website statement said:

KBBF is a nonlinear optical crystal material that converts deep lasers into an unprecedented wavelength of 176 nm (deep ultraviolet) laser to create deep-UV solid-state lasers. It took 15 years and millions of dollars for China to develop the world's first KBBF crystal. This was produced by a research group led by Academician Chen Chuangtian (found in 1990) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The researchers are open to provide KBBF crystals. However, by 2009, China was aware of the strategic significance of this crystal and immediately ceased its export. APC Corporation of the United States, a federal state-owned enterprise, partnered with Clemson University to develop the crystals from then on and today APC becomes the only company in the United States that produces this strategic material. APC's KBBF crystal has now been tested and evaluated, demonstrating performance comparable to comparable Chinese-made products and surpassing some areas, which will substantially reduce the cost of this material.

KBBF at high power UV performance than the previous generation BBO crystal performance and can be used to make ultra-high speed laser scanning equipment, which will greatly enhance the US national defense and homeland security threats detection capabilities of the United States for scientific research and precision measurement capabilities KBBF has the meaning of a "rule changer". APC is still continuing to develop this product. (APC company statement translated)

According to the domestic relevant information, the earliest discovered KBBF crystal in China in 1990. This kind of crystal was first proposed and developed successfully by our scientists in science and technology. The performance of the crystal in the UV band is superior to any materials that have been discovered at that time. Its successful development has aroused great repercussions abroad.

In 1990, China used this material to realize the occurrence of the second harmonic as low as 204.8 nm. It is a promising material for short pulse (<1 ns), high power (1 MW) lasers in laser frequency doubled and optical parametric oscillators in the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet regions Has a wide range of applications.

American APC company issued a successful development KBBF crystal statement

On September 9, 2013, the website of the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced that China's advanced front-end equipment for deep-UV solid-state laser source has passed the acceptance test recently and China has become the only country in the world capable of manufacturing practical deep-UV all-solid-state lasers.

Reported that the early 90s of last century, found in the borate series of nonlinear optical crystals, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Chen Chong-day research team after more than 10 years of hard work, the first in the world to grow large-size KBBF crystals.

KBBF crystal is the only non-linear optical crystal that can directly generate deep-ultraviolet laser at double frequency. It is the third "Chinese-made" nonlinear optical crystal after barium borate and lithium triborate crystal in the field of nonlinear optical crystal research .

With regard to the application of deep UV laser fabricated on the basis of KBBF crystals, the article mentions that today these eight scientific instruments have achieved important results in studies of graphene, HTS, topological insulators, wide bandgap semiconductors and catalysts .

Taking deep-ultraviolet laser light-emitting electron microscopy (PEEM) as an example, the most advanced spatial resolution of light-emitting electron microscopes in the world is up to 20 nm, and can be increased to 3.9 nm after using an all-solid-state laser. In situ measurement of graphene / Ru (0001) surface intercalation reaction by Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, provides a powerful research tool for the development and application of graphene and other optoelectronic materials.

Zhan Wenshan said the current 2mm KBBF crystals have been small batch production to meet the domestic market demand. Eight scientific instruments, PEEM is gradually industrialization attempt.

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