SBIR-STTR Success: KMLabs
Although KMLabs has made a name for itself around the world as a leading manufacturer of ultrafast lasers, the company is currently perfecting an x-ray microscope capable of providing both the research community and commercial clients with capabilities never before realized.
For Intel, who just helped the company secure $7.2 in Series A funding, the goal is to have a tool they can use to view an area on a chip that is 1/100th the wavelength of visible light. KMLabs has developed a tabletop 3D microscope for this and other applications that can see with the resolution of 12 nanometers – 50 times better than what one can view with current microscopes on the market. A series of DOE SBIRs allowed the company to engineer the light source to the level where they could apply it to these imaging problems, and the most recent investments by the Department of Defense have allowed the company to evolve the microscope to better fit the needs of the marketplace. The DOD and particularly DARPA are interested in KMLabs’ microscopy applications for producing better circuits for defense applications.
Starting from the first prototype of its Ti:sapphire laser to all of its current innovations in imaging, cryogenics, high harmonic source and more, all aspects of KMLabs’ technology were developed leveraging the SBIR program.
While the x-ray microscope is still being developed, KMLabs continues to sell its laser products around the world. Using a nonlinear optical process known as high harmonic generation (HHG), the laser light can produce a much shorter wavelength—from extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light to Soft XRays. The result is a coherent, high-power x-ray source with femtosecond to attosecond pulse duration, which instead of being part of a synchrotron research facility, can now fit on a table top so multiple researchers can partake in one experiment.