IRE-Polus

Fiber Lasers and Telecommunications Equipment

Shareholders in Portfolio Company 
RUSNANO, IPG Photonics Corporation (USA)

Industry Sector 
Optics and Electronics

Production Location 
Fryazino, Moscow Oblast
Jobs to be created: 1,000

Investment Started:  2010

Total Budget

5.51  bln rubles
Co-investment by RUSNANO
1.55  bln rubles

Production of fiber lasers and modern high-tech communications equipment

The history of laser pioneer IPG Photonics Corporation of Oxford, Massachusetts, begins more than two decades ago with Russian company IRE-Polus. Its story of creating a scientific and manufacturing corporation of global magnitude is unique in the history of Russian high technology. Established by Russian physicist and fiber laser pioneer Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics has become over the past six years the world leader in fiber lasers, related instruments, and systems derived from the lasers. The corporation holds 75 percent of the global fiber laser market. Its shares are traded on the NASDAQ. And Russia’s IRE-Polus, the starting point for these advances, will soon become one of three manufacturing locations for the US-based company and project initiator; the others are in Germany and the United States.

Products from this project are designed for industrial applications—cutting, welding, tempering, depositing, microprocessing, and engraving of metal parts. The tools are significantly more precise and more productive than competing products.

Areas of application

  • Materials processing
  • Telecommunications
  • Medicine
  • Commercial printing

Market

  • All areas of manufacturing in which powerful lasers can improve production, particularly processing of highly durable materials of different thicknesses in metallurgy, shipbuilding, and automobile construction

Competitive advantages

  • Lower energy consumption
  • Greater productivity
  • Compactness and mobility of equipment
  • Highly stable power output
  • Higher performance index
  • Lower operating costs
  • In-house production of key elements

Fiber laser—an optical laser beam generator in which the working environment is active fiber pumped by beaming, most often with a diode.

Fiber laser is made up of a pump source with fiber output; an active, single-mode fiber optic, the diameter of the core of which usually ranges from 10 microns to 30 microns; and intrafiber lattices refraction index.

Fiber lasers have output power of as much as 50 kW, yet they are free of the typical inadequacies of solid-state lasers: distortion of the wave front stemming from defects of the crystal and fluctuations in the power of the beam. As a result, the output powers of fiber lasers can be much higher. The fiber structures are economical: they need virtually no technical servicing, and their cooling systems are much more straightforward because of their high efficiency. This facilitates a significantly more compact fiber laser.

Fiber lasers were invented more than 20 years ago. At first, they were used to strengthen optic fiber communication lines. The development of these devices raised the power of beams to several tens of watts, making it possible to use them for laser processing of materials. IRE-Polus and its parent-company IPG Photonics played a key role in the appearance of powerful, economical, and easy-to-adapt fiber lasers. The first fiber lasers entered the market in the 1990s. By 2002 they reached one kilowatt of power. By 2006, fiber lasers with 36 kilowatts of power had already been perfected, a significant advance in comparison to gas lasers whose maximum power is 20 kilowatts. Achievement of such high power owes much to nanotechnology applications, particularly:

  • nanostructured fiber and
  • laser diodes whose active layer has a thickness of less than 100 nanometers