Avo Photonics and Weatherford Develop Downhole Multi-Channel Photometer

Horsham, Pa. (February 4, 2014) – Custom opto-electronic design and production specialist Avo Photonics in collaboration with the Wireline R&D optical sensor group at Weatherford International has successfully designed and validated the performance of a downhole multi-channel photometer. The sensor has now completed several field trials and is being volume manufactured by Avo Photonics for Weatherford commercial deployment.

Avo-produced multi-channel photometer inside the Weatherford sensor.

Avo-produced multi-channel photometer inside the Weatherford sensor.

The Reservoir Fluid Analyzer (RFA) sensor conforms to a 4.5 inch diameter space performing downhole fluid analysis up to five kilometers below the earth’s surface. The sensor design allows the device to perform high-quality photometric analysis while withstanding operating temperatures from -20 to 177°C with total differential pressures up to 30,000 psi.

“Avo’s optical and opto-mechanical design and manufacturing expertise for harsh environment operations and their rapid understanding of the downhole challenges were critical to create a sensor assembly that would work within our existing wireline equipment,” said Dr. Jess V. Ford, Weatherford Senior Staff Scientist.

“Designing and manufacturing an optical fluid analyzer for downhole is challenging, and Weatherford’s extended long wavelength requirements compounded the difficulties of high temperature performance,” said Dr. Thomas Haslett, Avo Photonics Chief Technology Officer. “We created an original design from our unique perspective. The result has been a high-quality, high-fidelity instrument that is continually produced at Avo.”

About Weatherford
Weatherford is one of the largest multinational oilfield services companies. Weatherford’s product and service portfolio spans the life cycle of the well, and includes capability in drilling and formation evaluation, well construction, completion and production. The Company provides innovative solutions, technology and services to the oil and gas industry, and operates in over 100 countries employing more than 65,000 people worldwide. For more information, please visit www.weatherford.com.

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Avo Photonics Celebrates 10 Years of Opto-Electronic Design and Manufacturing Services

Horsham, Pa. (December 4, 2013) – Avo Photonics is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of providing opto-electronic design, prototyping and production services to the medical, industrial, military, aerospace and communications markets.

Avo’s Board of Directors in front of its manufacturing facility. From top left: Dr. Joseph Dallas, President; Kimberly Wheeler, CFO; and Dr. Jeffrey Perkins, VP of Operations. Bottom left: Dr. Tom Haslett, CTO. Bottom right: David Winick, VP of Engineering.

Avo’s Board of Directors in front of its manufacturing facility. From top left: Dr. Joseph Dallas, President; Kimberly Wheeler, CFO; and Dr. Jeffrey Perkins, VP of Operations. Bottom left: Dr. Tom Haslett, CTO. Bottom right: David Winick, VP of Engineering.

Dr. Joseph Dallas, Avo President, and David Winick, Vice President of Engineering, founded the company in 2003 to fill a need for private-label photonics design through manufacturing. Avo moved into its current Horsham, Pa. office in 2004, and has since expanded its square footage by five times of the original size to accommodate the company’s growth. In 2006, Avo opened a second location in Toronto, Canada for design verification and prototyping.

In July 2011, Avo joined the global Halma technology group, which includes photonics specialists Ocean Optics, Fiberguide, Labsphere and PixelTeq. Current production at Avo ranges from single prototype builds to telecom laser assemblies at 20,000 per month. Recent products include FDA-approved fiber-coupled medical lasers, downhole photometers, rugged field-deployable lasers, vacuum-sealed IR imagers, spaceborne laser beacons and high speed transceivers.

Avo’s expertise in optical, mechanical, thermal and electrical engineering provides extensive design capabilities to its customers. Manufacturing is ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified, ensuring performance, reliability and traceability. Avo employs precision-based automated and custom-tool production services in its Class 10,000 manufacturing facility that includes Class 100/1000 clean rooms.

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Avo Photonics Awarded ISO 13485:2003 Certification

Horsham, Pa. (September 18, 2013) – Avo Photonics, industry expert in custom design and production of private-label opto-electronic solutions, has been awarded the medical development and manufacturing quality standard, ISO 13485:2003.

Employees work in Avo’s ISO 13485:2003-certified manufacturing facility.

Employees work in Avo’s ISO 13485:2003-certified manufacturing facility.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest voluntary developer of standards covering all aspects of business and technology. Avo attained ISO 9001:2008, its first ISO certification, in 2009. ISO 9001:2008 ensures that organizations have the ability to meet customer and applicable regulatory requirements and a commitment to improving their quality management systems. The standard is intended to be applicable to all organizations regardless of industry or product provided.

ISO 13485:2003 requires an organization’s quality management system to consistently meet regulatory standards in the design, development and manufacturing of medical devices. Unlike the ISO 9001:2008 focus on continual improvement, ISO 13485:20003 calls for an organization’s quality system to have strict processes in place that result in consistent product quality and reliability. BSI Group (British Standards Institution) served as the accreditation body for Avo’s certification.

“The recognition demonstrates Avo’s commitment to our customers’ success,” said Dr. Joseph Dallas, President, Avo Photonics. “Our ISO 13485:2003 compliant processes support the trusted service provided to our medical customers. The certification also offers customers in other markets additional confidence in knowing we are delivering reliable opto-electronic solutions.”

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Avo Photonics Provides Design and Production Services for Optofluidics’ NanoTweezer System

Horsham, Pa. (September 10, 2013) – Avo Photonics, specialists in opto-electronic systems requiring precision optical alignment, has been chosen by Optofluidics to provide system design and manufacturing services for their molecular NanoTweezer system.

Avo provides packaging services for the Optofluidics NanoTweezer.

Avo provides packaging services for the Optofluidics NanoTweezer.

The NanoTweezer is made up of three components: a microscope flow system that sits atop the microscope platform, removable waveguide chips which are inserted into the flow system, and a bench-top control unit. Optofluidics’ breakthrough technology allows users to isolate objects more than 10 times smaller than those trapped by traditional optical tweezers. Using a beam of light to capture nanoscale objects floated in fluid, such as individual cells, viruses, single bacteria, nucleic acids, metal nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes and some proteins, optical tweezers provide a way for these particles to be studied and manipulated under a microscope. Conventional optical tweezers use lenses to focus the optical spot in the far-field, causing capturable particles to be restrained by the Rayleigh limit. The NanoTweezer uses photonic resonator chips to create a miniscule aperture in the near-field, allowing the beam to attract particles as small as 5nm in size. The 1060nm-wavelength laser beam causes no negative heating effects or other damage to biological objects. The ability to safely isolate and study particles of this size is critical for future advancements in physiology, medicine and material science.

For this project, Avo provided the design and production of disposable assemblies consisting of three single-mode, polarization-maintaining fibers hard-coupled to a NanoTweezer chip, which contain Optofluidics’ waveguide technology. With a mode field diameter of nine microns per fiber, and an even smaller aperture for the waveguide, the alignment of these two components required Avo’s innovative design for alignability, stability and robustness while balancing the cost constraints associated with disposable materials.

Additionally, Avo created the means to tune the wavelength and control the power of the laser through the bench-top NanoTweezer system. Through manipulation of these settings, the wavelength of the laser can be tuned to a resonance in the waveguide to enhance the optical tweezing effect.

“This technology is a really cutting edge way of manipulating nanoscale objects, and Avo helped us realize our goals much more quickly than anticipated,” says Dr. Robert Hart, Chief Technology Officer of Optofluidics.

Keith Forsyth, principal engineer of Avo Photonics, offered, “Optofluidics is doing groundbreaking work.  The ability to control the movement of ever-smaller objects with light is a critically important tool for many biological applications, now and in the future.  We are excited to be a part of this development and look forward to volume production of NanoTweezer systems and disposable fiber-coupled waveguide chips.”

Optofluidics, Inc. is a Philadelphia-based life-sciences company that has been developing microfluidic and biophotonic nanomanipulation technologies for biological, material science, and pharmaceutical applications since 2011. In 2012 Optofluidics was named Philadelphia Life Sciences startup of the year. To find out more about The Optofluidics Corporation, visit www.optofluidicscorp.com.

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Landauer and Avo Photonics Develop First Field-Use Automatic Neutron Dosimetry Reader

Horsham, Pennsylvania (June 17, 2013) – Avo Photonics has been chosen by Landauer Inc. to support the development and production of the first commercial automatic dosimetry badge reader, based in Landauer’s Fluorescent Nuclear Track Detector (FNTD) technology. The device allows personnel who work in close proximity to major sources of radiation to more closely monitor their individual exposure.

 Avo Photonics and Landauer Inc. have developed the first commercial automatic neutron dosimetry reader based in Landauer’s FNTD technology.


Avo Photonics and Landauer Inc. have developed the first commercial automatic neutron dosimetry reader based in Landauer’s FNTD technology.

The reader can analyze up to 216 badges at a time on-site in the compact, table-top system for immediate readout of radiation exposure. Using confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscopy, the reader scans a 640nm-wavelength laser focused to a one micron spot size over the FNTDs, causing radiation tracks in the detectors to fluoresce in the IR (around 750nm). Using a secondary camera and automatic optical character recognition, the instrument reads the detectors’ engraved IDs to correlate the final analysis of each badge to its individual wearer. Through Avo’s fast data-processing electronics and the Landauer-developed fluorescent image analysis and interface software, the end-user receives an in-depth, configurable readout of the radiation doses received by each FNTD.

As a field-use instrument, the dosimetry reader required Avo’s expertise in rugged design and manufacturing to maintain the stability of the optical alignment to one micron. To achieve this, high precision optical components were laser welded into place, and the mechanical design incorporated as few moving parts as possible. The result is a compact, robust system with precision optical alignment and near-diffraction-limited resolution that remains stable through travel and long-term use.

“This project really highlights Avo’s ability to be extremely optically precise even in a highly complex system,” says Dr. Tom Haslett, Avo’s Chief Technology Officer. “We were excited to apply our knowledge and experience to Landauer’s cutting-edge technology.”

Landauer’s breakthrough FNTDs allow for rapid dose measurement rates and a high level of environmental stability. In comparison to standard plastic nuclear track detectors, they provide a wider range of measured doses, better spatial imaging resolution and measured track density, and a wider range of measured linear energy transfers. With the development of the commercial-use dosimetry readers, the FNTDs can be read in-field for the first time ever.

“Avo is known for their rugged, compact packaging, so we knew they would be a good fit for our FNTD reader,” says Landauer Chief Scientist, Dr. Mark Akselrod. “They worked seamlessly with our team to design to our specs and move quickly into production.”

Landauer is a leading global provider of technical and analytical services to determine occupational and environmental radiation exposure, the leading domestic provider of outsourced medical physics services, as well as a provider of high quality medical accessories used in radiology, radiation therapy, and image guided surgery procedures.  For more than 50 years, the Company has provided complete radiation dosimetry services to hospitals, medical and dental offices, universities, national laboratories, nuclear facilities and other industries in which radiation poses a potential threat to employees.  Landauer’s services include the manufacture of various types of radiation detection monitors, the distribution and collection of the monitors to and from customers, and the analysis and reporting of exposure findings.  The Company provides its dosimetry services to approximately 1.8 million individuals globally.  In addition, through its Medical Physics segment, the Company provides therapeutic and imaging physics services to the medical physics community. Through its Medical Products segment, the Company provides medical consumable accessories used in radiology, radiation therapy, and image guided surgery procedures. To learn more about Landauer, visit www.landauer.com.

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Avo Photonics Chosen by Aerospace to Produce Spaceborne Laser Beacon for CubeSat Satellites

Horsham, Pennsylvania (October 31, 2012) – The Aerospace Corporation has chosen Avo Photonics, industry leader in rugged, micro-optic design and production, to develop and provide ongoing packaging services for a semiconductor laser illumination source for use on CubeSat miniaturized spaceborne satellites.

Avo Photonics will provide packing for a semiconductor laser illumination source for The Aerospace Corporation.

Avo Photonics will provide packing for a semiconductor laser illumination source for The Aerospace Corporation.

Avo was chosen because of its unique capabilities in rugged space-qualified manufacturing, including precision optical alignment, welding, and environmental sealing, while achieving optical performance to meet The Aerospace Corporation’s tight specifications. The program required Avo to produce a 10 watt continuous wave beam at a wavelength of 795 nanometers within a few degrees of the CubeSat reference axis system. Operating at 30 percent efficiency, the high-powered optical source is designed to run over numerous illumination cycles. To ensure that the components were mission ready, Avo tested the opto-electronic performance of the lasers over the defined qualification limits for temperature, vibration and shock.

With The Aerospace Corporation at the forefront of miniaturized satellite technology, high function electro-optic space missions are being developed on a rapid schedule, from concept to implementation, using CubeSat hosts. Decreases in size and mass allow for lower launch cost while still enabling the use of cutting-edge components to achieve mission success. Larger satellites can take five to 10 years to design, build and fly, while CubeSats can be completed and launched in as few as one to two years, ensuring that the latest breakthrough technology arrives in space with less financial risk.

“Avo’s heritage involves producing lasers for the space environment, so we know how imperative it is to provide only the most stable, robust components and assemblies,” said Dr. Joseph Dallas, president of Avo Photonics. “We have the expertise to balance the challenges imposed by spaceborne instruments with the size, cost and delivery time constraints of The Aerospace Corporation’s CubeSat Programs.”

Aerospace senior scientist Dr. Renny Fields said, “We chose Avo because of their experience, and we were confident that they would deliver cost-effective, reliable, rugged flight hardware.”

The Aerospace Corporation provides independent technical and scientific research, development and advisory services to national security space programs since 1960. It operates a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for the United States Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office and supports all national security space programs. It also applies more than 50 years of experience with space systems to projects for civil agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, commercial companies, universities, and international organizations in the national interest. To find out more about The Aerospace Corporation, visit http://www.aerospace.org.

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Avo Photonics Selected by Vescent Photonics for Optoelectronic Laser Scanner Design and Production

Horsham, Pennsylvania (July 31, 2012) –Avo Photonics, industry expert in rugged micro-optic design and manufacturing, has been contracted by Vescent Photonics to provide custom development and ongoing packaging services for its 2-dimensional electro-optic laser scanners.

Avo provided packaging services for Vescent’s 2D EO laser scanners.

Avo provided packaging services for Vescent’s 2D EO laser scanners.

Rather than controlling beam direction through mechanical manipulation of lenses or mirrors, Vescent’s novel scanning technology uses changes in voltage through a silicon-mounted liquid crystal waveguide to steer optical output, resulting in the ability to maneuver a beam up to 270 degrees in-plane. The absence of moving mechanical components allows for a faster, lighter weight, more robust scanner with no induced angular momentum, ideal for such applications as laser range finding, topographical mapping and line-of-site communication between high-speed vehicles.

Vescent’s initial program  required Avo to design and produce  packaged scanners with an input coupled polarization-maintaining optical fiber and scanned free-space emission over ±20 degrees horizontally and ±5 degrees vertically. Given the critical optical alignments inherent to the components, as well as the challenging thermal and mechanical vibration real-world environmental operating conditions, significant diligence and care were required.

The project used Avo’s advanced capabilities in tight-tolerance optical and mechanical design, precision micro-optical alignment, and ruggedized packaging. Avo was able to achieve and maintain stable low-loss fiber coupling to the single mode scanner and enable consistent device performance in diverse operating environments. The critical 0.02 degree (350 urad) input angle coupled fiber efficiently launched the 1550 nm laser light into the waveguide’s 10 um diameter, 0.1 NA mode field. To ensure that this alignment angle remains stable through the expected temperature variations and other environmental uncertainties, Avo performed a number of design analyses and physical tests, including temperature cycling, vibration, mechanical shock/drop and mounting stress.

“Vescent’s ability to raster a beam, in 2 dimensions, at high speed with no moving parts and in such an elegant, simple package is really exciting technology,” said Avo’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Thomas Haslett. “We are looking forward to the large-scale production of these scanners to support Vescent’s deployment needs.”

“Avo uniquely was able to satisfy all the challenging requirements they were given without any negativity or surprises,” said Scott Rommel, Chief Operating Officer of Vescent Photonics. “We were glad to see that they kept their processes completely transparent to us, so collaboration was easy and seamless.”

Vescent Photonics develops and manufactures innovative electro-optic, waveguide, and laser technologies. From voltage control over optical phase to frequency stabilized diode laser systems and precision electronics, Vescent scientists and engineers are continuously developing new solutions to technical challenges. To find out more about Vescent Photonics, visit www.vescent.com.

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Avo Photonics Expands On-Site Machining Capability

Horsham, Pennsylvania (June 29, 2012) –Avo Photonics, industry expert in custom design, development and manufacturing of optoelectronic systems, has expanded its in-house machine shop to more rapidly serve its customers.

Avo’s new CNC milling machine, part of the facility expansion that allows more rapid customer response.

Avo’s new CNC milling machine, part of the facility expansion that allows more rapid customer response.

The new space increases Avo’s machining facility size more than six times, allowing for enhanced metal working capabilities on-site at the company’s headquarters in greater Philadelphia. In addition to newly purchased equipment, including a CNC milling machine, the expansion also includes a new stock inventory for greater responsiveness to client demands. While continuing to utilize the services of both local and international machine shops, Avo’s facility can now accommodate the immediate customization and modification of products, prototypes, fixturing and tooling.

“Our new machining capabilities allow us to more rapidly respond to our customer’s needs,” said David Winick, Avo’s vice president of engineering. “It is just another example of Avo’s continued focus on serving our customers.”

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Avo Photonics Names Dr. Sven Mahnkopf Optical Program Manager

Horsham, Pa. (September 14, 2011) – Avo Photonics, specialists in opto-electronic packaging, has named Dr. Sven Mahnkopf as its latest Optical Program Manager.

Avo Photonics Optical Program Manager Dr. Sven Mahnkopf.

Avo Photonics Optical Program Manager Dr. Sven Mahnkopf.

In addition to managing teams of Avo engineers and providing frequent status reports to customers, Mahnkopf’s role at Avo Photonics includes performing optical analysis of product requirements, assisting in derivation of optical, mechanical, and electrical solutions, creating optical/laser physics models to design components and derive tolerances, and managing the production of rapid-prototypes.

“Dr. Mahnkopf’s vast knowledge of optical systems and opto-electronic designs further strengthens the Avo Photonics team,” said Dr. Tom Haslett, CTO of Avo Photonics. “With our continued success in volume optical component contract manufacturing, his familiarity in design for volume production will prove invaluable to our customers and we gladly welcome his talents.”

Dr. Mahnkopf commented, “Working for a company with such a varied opto-electronic customer base and highly respected design and production teams is a great experience.”

Mahnkopf has 10 years of professional experience developing opto-electronic devices and project management. He comes to Avo Photonics from OptiComp Corporation, where he served as Device Engineering Manager and led teams of engineers to design opto-electronic devices including VCSELs and photodetector arrays. Prior to this, Mahnkopf was at Mesophotonics Ltd. (Southampton, UK), Julius – Maximilians University (Würzburg, Germany), and Infineon Technologies Pte. Ltd (Neubiberg, Germany). Other professional achievements include authoring four patents, one book chapter, more than 20 scientific publications and seven invited papers.

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Avo Photonics Selected to Package PulseTor’s SiPM-based Products

High efficiency process vacuum compatible
Horsham, Pennsylvania (August 3, 2011) – Avo Photonics, an opto-electronic service company specializing in custom design and manufacturing, has been chosen by PulseTor, Inc. to advance the performance, packaging, and production of its next generation silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) based detectors.

PulseTorReleaseBLOG

PulseTor’s line of SPRITE™ SiPM-based detector assemblies (patent pending) are used in electron imaging applications. The measurement requirements and high-vacuum operating environment that are characteristic of these applications impose challenging thermal, electrical, material, and mechanical packaging constraints. Avo Photonics developed a high efficiency solution that supports optional low temperature operation without the use of active cooling, while simultaneously providing vacuum compatibility and minimal package size. 

“The component design and system engineering converged nicely to yield a manufacturable assembly which meets PulseTor’s expectations,” remarked Todd Rixman, Avo’s technical manager for this program. 

Dr. Nicholas Barbi, CEO of PulseTor commented, “Working with Avo was efficient and successful. They listened to our requirements and ideas and offered suggestions and improvements, all while being incredibly detailed in their analysis, design, and production. The degree of support and transparency provided by Avo were primary contributors to the success of the program.”

PulseTor (www.pulsetor.com) provides high performing silicon drift detectors (SDD), SiPM electron imaging detectors, optimized preamplifiers, and digital pulse processors. Its products are designed for ease of use, providing X-ray system operation with no liquid nitrogen requirements, plug-and-play installation, and uncomplicated system upgrades.

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