Strategies Unlimited says new technologies and applications will drive mid-IR laser growth

Sept. 10, 2010
Mountain View, CA--Advancements in several new laser technologies are opening new opportunities for the mid-infrared wavelength range.

Mountain View, CA--Advancements in several new laser technologies are opening new opportunities in the part of the spectrum between telecom lasers and the nascent terahertz range, called the mid-infrared, says market research firm Strategies Unlimited. This range is currently dominated by applications in materials processing and medical procedures, but new mid-IR military and sensing applications will add sizeable and exciting opportunities in the next few years.

The new segments will grow 30% per year, compounded annually through 2014. But, the mid-IR wavelength range remains a complex and confusing segment, with competition from other laser and non-laser solutions, and with many companies ripe for acquisition. These are among the findings in a new report, Mid-Infrared Lasers 2010, from Strategies Unlimited, a provider of market research for the photonics industry.

Applications on the horizon are high-brightness sources for military applications: infrared countermeasures against heat-seeking missiles, illuminators for thermal imaging, mid-IR beacons, and so forth. These military applications are key to funding the new mid-infrared technologies while other applications get off the ground. Another long-awaited segment is sensing for molecular detection, with many exciting new opportunities in environmental monitoring, industrial process controls, security standoff detection of hazardous chemicals, and new breathalyzer instruments for medical diagnostics.

Now, new solutions in quantum cascade and interband cascade lasers, GaSb diode lasers and OPSLs, fiber lasers, solid-state lasers, and compact OPOs promise to expand sales into new applications. The report lists over 50 companies offering lasers in the mid-IR range, spanning the technologies listed above, as well as legacy technologies.

Mid-Infrared Lasers 2010 is the latest in a series of reports on lasers for industrial and consumer applications. It is the only market report to cover mid-infrared lasers.

Technology Forum on mid-IR QC lasers

At the 2011 Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar on January 24, co-located with Photonics West in San Francisco, a Technology Forum entitled ‘Quantum cascade lasers for mid-IR applications: pro vs. con’ moderated by Tom Hausken, director of Optoelectronic Components at Strategies Unlimited, will feature Tim Day (Daylight Solutions), Robert Afzal (Lockheed Martin Laser Systems), Ken Kaufmann (Hamamatsu), and Lars Hildebrand (Nanoplus GmbH). For further information, go to

SOURCE: Strategies Unlimited

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About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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