Frankfurt Laser Company is a global supplier of FP, DFB and DBR laser diodes; SM individually addressable and broad area laser diode arrays; VCSELs; and quantum cascade lasers for use in industries as diverse as military and medical. Dr Vsevolod Mazo, CEO, discusses the challenges in the laser market, as well as how the technology has evolved to overcome them.

Could you start by telling us about some of the medical applications that make use of your lasers?

Dr Vsevolod Mazo: Frankfurt Laser Company (FLC)’s lasers are used in three major medical applications: surgical, such as urology, general surgery, ENT, gynaecology, dentistry, cosmetic surgery and skin treatments; low-level laser therapy (LLLT); and photodynamic therapy (PDT).

What principles guide FLC’s product distribution?

FLC is a highly trusted and specialised distributor of lasers that are suitable for demanding industrial environments in a range of sectors, including military, space and, of course, medicine. Our main task is to concentrate on the most cutting-edge medical applications in order to shape the lasers’ designs so that they can be used effectively in their respective markets. We employ only the most experienced engineers to make sure that our products are robust, reliable and application-ready. We also take great care to ensure the customisability of laser-diode products, as well as tailor-made consulting solutions to fit our clients’ needs.

How has laser technology evolved since you started FLC in 1994?

The technology has changed significantly. One of the major advancements in the field since the company began is the widespread availability of differently coloured lasers. This was not always the case. When visitors come to trade shows these days, they take the variety of available colours for granted but, a little over two decades ago, the options were very limited indeed. I think of it as being in the right place at the right time, but it was then that I began my work to bring the first green diode-pumped, solid-state, frequency-doubled laser to market. This was the beginning of the colour solid-state laser era. Previously, red laser lights came from helium-neon laser sources, and the green, yellow and orange lasers had a meagre power output of under 100uW.

There were larger colour lasers available, but they tended to be bulky or place too great a burden on power consumption. As with everything technological, the market wanted devices that were smaller, more compact and portable, with high power output.

So, definitely, the major changes have been delivering a variety of differently coloured lasers to market, as well as manufacturing stronger and smaller lasers.

What is the biggest challenge in producing quality lasers for the medical industry?

As with any device used in medical applications, it is essential that they meet the highest quality and regulatory standards. We make sure the lasers we distribute come from reputable and well-established manufacturers. On a technical level, the biggest challenge comes from combining quality according to tight technical parameters with the lowest costs possible to make them accessible to the highest possible number of patients.

Could you tell us a bit about your involvement in the EU-supported GLAUrious project?

The GLAUrious project is a very important drive to help treat patients living with glaucoma. FLC was invited to participate as the industrial partner, which meant we could help Belkin Laser realise its target of providing market access to a pulsed green laser that combines reliable performance with low production costs. The purpose of GLAUrious is bringing low-cost, machine-vision-guided green lasers to the medical market in China and Africa. It is in these areas that thousands of patients with glaucoma go blind every year because the treatment is currently too expensive and takes too long for individual patients.

What can we expect to see from FLC in the future?

We strive to deliver only the best, newest and most effective laser technologies to customers in the medical market. Something everyone at FLC is particularly excited about is the new 405nm, 10W fibre-coupled module used in medical treatment. We will be demonstrating this very impressive laser technology at LASER World of PHOTONICS 2017 in Munich this June.