A good thing about the exhibit is that you don't have to submit and wait for a quote. It is simply enough to speak to a company representative to get an approximate idea about the prices, or sometimes even exact value. Walking around the exhibit, I've managed to get some things done, such as looking up an upgrade to our Coherent OPO and figuring out the pricing for certain items that I meant to check long time ago, always saving it for later. So, I've done my equipment homework.
Attending the Power Lunch, an event aimed at networking with industry representatives, I had a very good discussion with Dr. Andy Bairamyan from Lawrence Livermore Ntl lab. While being a student at the University of Rochester, I've been working at some point with Dr. Okishev and Dr. Zuegel on studying the laser performance of a fairly new crystal, Yb-doped GdCOB (gadolinium calcium oxoborate), first accidentally grown about 15 years ago. This crystal has a superior thermal and mechanical properties and a large transparency window, which makes it a perfect candidate for laser hosts and nonlinear materials. Strong second-harmonic generation has been realized in GdCOB and its relative YCOB earlier. In addition, it is very easy to grow this crystal by Czochralski pooling method to very large sizes with a very good uniformity. Since I started working on other things for my Ph.D. thesis I lost a track of the developments related to GdCOB and YCOB crystals. When I tried to speak to other people about these crystals earlier, not many people knew about them, as these crystals are new and their optical properties have been evaluated only recently. It turned out that Dr. Bairamyan is familiar with YCOB and GdCOB and aware about their excellent properties. Moreover, I've learned from him that these crystals are being actively used for harmonic generation, as they have better properties compared to other commonly used crystals, such as KTP. It was nice to speak to someone who dealt with the same material and updated me on its practical potential and applications.