PETALUMA -- Raydiance won bids for three government contracts totaling $1.75 million to create more powerful fiber ultrafast lasers than are available today.

The contracts from the National Science Foundation and U.S. Navy focus on novel optical amplification, pulse compressor technology and advanced optical fibers.

"These projects will provide a viable path to ultrafast performance levels that are an order of magnitude greater than what is currently considered state of the art," according to the company.

The foundation awarded Raydiance $500,000 from the Phase II Small Business Innovation Research program to develop new methods for amplifying ultrafast laser pulses. Distortion currently limits amplification.

A Navy Phase II.5 Small Business Technology Transfer award focuses efforts on compressor technology. It's the final stage of ultrafast laser pulse generation. Pulses are time-compressed into high-power pulses.

The second Navy contract, $750,000 from the Phase II.5 Small Business Innovation Research project, is to develop advanced optical fibers. "Higher order mode" fiber can amplify ultrafast pulses.