Dr. Stephen T. Lee
Founder & CEO at Caledonian Photonics Ltd
SPIE Involvement:
Author | Editor | Instructor
Area of Expertise:
laser resonator design , ultrafast oscillators and amplification , Zemax optical modelling , defence optronics , Q-switched lasers , physics
Profile Summary

I am a laser physicist with 22 years of experience of product and technology development in academia, commercial and defence industries in the field of solid-state lasers.

I founded Caledonian Photonics Limited in 2018 to commercialise novel new high-reliability, environmentally-insensitive lasers & optics. We are currently engaged in product development activities and consultancy to the photonics industry.

From 2008 to 2017 I performed a number of roles at Thales UK, including Engineering Manager, Thales Expert in laser technolgy for robust operation in difficult environments, and Design Authority for the Defence Lasers Product Line. The products required specialist understanding of the design and manufacture of rugged, compact, low cost lasers for the defence market. My role covered technology R&D from original concept, through new product design and introduction, to product support in manufacturing and with the customer. I was also responsible for the production and maintenance of the Thales UK Lasers Technology Roadmap.

Prior to my time with Thales I worked for Coherent Inc from 2002-08 as a senior laser design engineer, in the field of ultrafast, diode-pumped all-solid-state laser design for commercial and scientific markets. In 2001 I worked for Sigtronics, a small start-up company in the field of PCB manufacturing. I led a small team researching next-generation technologies for fast prototyping of high-density PCBs, including the construction of a laser machining station to perform drilling and patterning operations.

From 1996-2000 I completed a PhD and a one year post-doctoral researcher contract at the University of Strathclyde Physics department. The subject of this research was mode-locking of diode-pumped, all-solid-state lasers, with an emphasis on semiconductor saturable absorber mirror mode-locking.
Publications (8)

Proceedings Article | 7 March 2019 Paper
Proc. SPIE. 10896, Solid State Lasers XXVIII: Technology and Devices
KEYWORDS: Packaging, Optical filters, Photon polarization, Polarization, Satellites, Crystals, Single photon, Computer programming, Phase matching, Quantum key distribution

Proceedings Article | 4 March 2019 Paper
Proc. SPIE. 10899, Components and Packaging for Laser Systems V
KEYWORDS: Packaging, Laser sources, Clocks, Sensors, Laser applications, Semiconductor lasers, Laser stabilization, Rubidium, Prototyping, Fiber coupled lasers

Proceedings Article | 25 October 2016 Paper
Proc. SPIE. 9992, Emerging Imaging and Sensing Technologies
KEYWORDS: Fiber Bragg gratings, Mode locking, Laser development, Modulators, Fiber lasers, Laser resonators, Laser stabilization, Optical isolators, Pulsed laser operation, Temperature metrology

Proceedings Article | 17 May 2016 Paper
Proc. SPIE. 9822, Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR
KEYWORDS: Target detection, Modeling, Data modeling, Scattering, Sensors, Photons, Laser scattering, 3D modeling, Picosecond phenomena, Pulsed laser operation

Proceedings Article | 13 May 2016 Paper
Proc. SPIE. 9834, Laser Technology for Defense and Security XII
KEYWORDS: Mirrors, Resonators, Laser applications, Laser development, Semiconductor lasers, Laser resonators, Pulsed laser operation, Target designation, Temperature metrology, Absorption

Showing 5 of 8 publications
Proceedings Volume Editor (1)

Conference Committee Involvement (9)
Advanced Optics for Imaging Applications: UV through LWIR IV
14 April 2019 | Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR III
15 April 2018 | Orlando, Florida, United States
Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications
13 September 2017 | Warsaw, Poland
Advanced Optics for Defense Applications: UV through LWIR II
9 April 2017 | Anaheim, California, United States
Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications
28 September 2016 | Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Showing 5 of 9 Conference Committees
Course Instructor
SC1255: Solid-State Laser Design for Environmental Stability
Laser misalignment is a familiar phenomenon. Anyone who has endeavoured to build a laser resonator soon discovers the alignment precision required and that there can be a need for regular realignment to combat degrading performance. Lasers are sensitive to their environment through thermal, mechanical and atmospheric interactions and it is these interactions that cause laser performance to degrade if they are not given due consideration. This becomes ever more important as laser system sizes are reduced and they are taken from the laboratory and out into the field. This course will describe the mechanisms by which temperature, vibration, shock, humidity, contamination and vacuum interact with a solid-state laser and will present design approaches that mitigate these effects. If your laser is to be incorporated into a portable device, attached to a moving vehicle, used in defense applications, sent into space, or if your laser must survive being shipped to a customer and work reliably once it arrives, then you will benefit from this course.
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