Thorlabs acquires Maxion and its mid-IR semiconductor lasers from PSI

Newton, NJ and Andover, MA--Vertically integrated photonics products manufacturer Thorlabs acquired Maxion Technologies (College Park, MD), developer of mid-infrared (mid-IR) turnkey semiconductor lasers, from Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI); PSI acquired Maxion in 2009. Maxion was founded in 2000 by a team of scientists and engineers from the United States Army Research Laboratory. Their interband cascade (IC) laser and quantum cascade (QC) laser products provide output in the 3 to 12 micron range for product solutions in chemical sensing, infrared countermeasures, and free-space optical communications.

The Maxion group will join the Thorlabs Quantum Electronics (TQE) team, which is located a short distance away from College Park in Jessup, MD. Alex Cable, president and founder of Thorlabs, said of the new acquisition, "I am pleased to welcome the Maxion team to the Thorlabs family. The addition of IC/QC lasers is a perfect complement to TQE’s existing semiconductor laser technologies, which include InP molecular beam epitaxy [MBE] wafer growth and volume wafer fabrication / optoelectronic packaging infrastructure."

The move leverages Thorlabs' already significant investment in expanding TQE's design and manufacturing capability to include high-power GaAs laser diodes and state-of-the art MEMS-based tunable vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs). With the addition of strong QC/IC laser design expertise and Sb-based MBE growth, Thorlabs will be able to manufacture a comprehensive line of semiconductor lasers with output in the 0.7 to 12 micron wavelength range, which it says provides economies of scale to the research community and a reliable commercial partner for industrial sensing, medical, life science, and telecommunication/instrumentation markets.

PSI says its commitment to and ongoing development of QCL-based systems is strengthened by this partnership with Thorlabs. According to David Green, CEO of PSI, “The acquisition of Maxion by Thorlabs provides the vertically integrated laser fabrication capabilities that are required to introduce QCL-based systems into defense and commercial markets. PSI remains at the forefront of these developments and looks forward to continued close collaboration with the Maxion team." Located in Andover, MA, PSI provides contract research and development services to a diverse number of both government and commercial customers.

Thorlabs was founded in 1989 to serve the laser and electro-optics research market and says it has extended its core competencies in an effort to consistently serve its industry at the research end, as well as the industrial, life science, medical, and defense segments. The organization’s highly integrated and diverse manufacturing assets include semiconductor fabrication of Fabry-Perot, DFB, and VCSEL lasers, fiber towers for drawing glass optical fibers (silica, fluoride, tellurite, and hollow core), MBE crystal growth machines, extensive glass and metal fabrication facilities, advanced thin film deposition capabilities, and optomechanical and optoelectronic shops.

SOURCE: Thorlabs; www.thorlabs.com/PressReleases.cfm?ReleaseID=69

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