Lockheed Martin Aculight ‘growing like a weed’

SAN JOSE, CA--Looking around the exhibit hall at Photonics West 2009, Mark Bendett, director of medical products for Lockheed Martin Aculight (Bothell, WA), mused that the lasers and optics industry seems by and large to be surviving the economic difficulties better than other industries.

Mar 1st, 2009

SAN JOSE, CA--Looking around the exhibit hall at Photonics West 2009, Mark Bendett, director of medical products for Lockheed Martin Aculight (Bothell, WA), mused that the lasers and optics industry seems by and large to be surviving the economic difficulties better than other industries. He said the industry is made up of “good core businesses that didn’t overreach.&drquo; As for Aculight itself, Bendett notes that the business is “growing like a weed&drquo; and is looking to hire 10 optical engineers.

He was pleased to note that on Monday at the BiOS “Photons and Neurons&drquo; conference, a dozen papers (including two co-authored by Lockheed Martin Aculight) of the 21, including posters, referenced his company’s infrared nerve stimulator, Capella. The compact, low-cost system, designed for medical research, is “in a transition phase moving from animal to human&drquo; application, and “lining up for IDE,&drquo; according to Bendett. An IDE--investigational device exemption--would allow Capella to be used in a clinical study in order to collect safety and effectiveness data required to support a Premarket Approval (PMA) application or a Premarket Notification [510(k)] submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Bendett also noted continued interest in the company’s Argos, a widely tunable, high-power optical parametric oscillator (OPO), saying it is a “unique research tool&drquo; with a strong signal and good sensitivity, “mostly for applications such as spectroscopy.&drquo;

Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, MD) acquired Aculight, then a privately held company primarily focused on providing laser-based solutions for national defense and medical customers, last summer. The new business unit reports to Lockheed Martin’s Maritime Systems & Sensors business in Akron, OH. For more on Capella’s capabilities, see “Infrared nerve stimulation: Hearing by light,&drquo; in BioOptics World, Nov/Dec 2008, www.bioopticsworld.com/articles/345216/).

--Barbara Goode

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