Zecotek changes name, shifts focus

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA—Zecotek Medical Systems announced October 25 that it has changed its name to Zecotek Photonics effective October 26, 2007.

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA—Zecotek Medical Systems announced October 25 that it has changed its name to Zecotek Photonics effective October 26, 2007. The name change better reflects the company’s shift in focus from research and development for largely medical device applications to commercial sale of a broad range of photonics products for the photonics industry and a myriad of applications. The company made the announcement at the Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference in Honolulu, HI that took place Oct. 29–Nov. 3, 2007.

Zecotek has hit the ground running in recent months with a slew of significant press releases. On the same day as the name change announcement, the company announced that the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland had placed an order for Zecotek’s patented lutetium fine silicate (LFS) scintillation crystals for trials in its next-generation positron-emission-tomography (PET) medical-imaging program. The Paul Scherrer Institute PET program focuses on advancing improvements in sensitivity, spatial resolution, and image quality in PET scanners, largely by applying advances in instrumentation. The LFS crystals complement Zecotek’s patented micro-pixel avalanche photo diodes (MAPDs), designed to replace current photo-multiplier-tubes in photo detectors used in medical diagnostics.

On Oct. 9, the company announced the installation of the first in a planned series of four vanadate crystal-growing ovens at its Singapore production facilities. The ovens produce Zecotek’s proprietary high-performance rare-earth fine oxide (RFO) vanadate crystals, used to replace yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) crystals in lasers that are used in approximately 60% of all laser applications, from medical lasers to high-power industrial laser systems. As the laser crystal market is projected to reach $106 million by 2012, Zecotek hopes to garner a large share of that market. “We anticipate rapid growth in demand for the RFO vanadate laser crystals,” said A. F. Zerrouk, chairman, president, and CEO of Zecotek Photonics. Zerrouk cites cost and quality advantages as a result of the company’s proprietary growing techniques for the advantages of RFO vanadate over YAG crystals.

On Sept. 19, Zecotek announced the initial commercial production of a new CW single-frequency Ti:sapphire laser, TIS-SF-787. The laser features an ultra-narrow linewidth of less than 10 kHz for the fundamental mode and less than 20 kHz for the second-harmonic, together with an ultra-wide tunable range of 690 to 1000 nm. Existing Ti:Sapphire lasers are limited to a laser line width of 50 to 100 kHz. The new laser’s ultra-narrow linewidth makes it appealing for applications in fundamental research (atomic cooling, atomic trapping, quantum manipulation, optical pumping), contemporary cutting-edge technologies (atomic lithography, optical metrology, high-density data recording), as well as microelectronic/nanofabrication technologies such as direct-write atom lithography for the production of enhanced nanostructures and unique atomic patterns. These features, along with a new compactness and frequency-stability, are set to position the tunable laser as best-in-class in the growing laser market, according to the company.

On Oct. 15, Zecotek announced the signing of a letter of intent with world-class fiber-optic cable manufacturer Fujikura of Japan to negotiate a business partnership featuring the manufacture and distribution of certain technologies and products, including Zecotek’s new line of fiber lasers and a detector block consisting of the proprietary solid-state photo detectors and LFS scintillation crystals. Fujikura could contribute capital investment, technical support, and manufacturing know-how for certain products that can be licensed for manufacture and distribution by Fujikura or under a joint-venture arrangement.

Zecotek plans to keep its hand in the R&D realm with the continuing development of a portfolio of new-generation fiber lasers and sub-systems. The company’s first fiber-laser product, the GLF-540–0.2 green fiber laser, operates over the entire green spectral range and offers advantages over existing lasers. The development of the fiber laser is a recent and now booming business in its own right, not to mention the significance of a green fiber laser. “Our green fiber laser offers significant competitive advantages relative to existing solid-state and gas lasers because they are more energetically efficient, more compact, and deliver higher power with a higher-quality beam,” said Zerrouk. “Extending the operating range of the green fiber laser is a significant technological breakthrough that expands our market opportunities considerably.”

Finally, on Oct. 22, Zecotek announced the appointment of Market Tech (Scotts Valley, CA) as their exclusive U.S. sales representative for Zecotek’s recently announced line of fiber laser products. Market Tech is a privately-held corporation that provides distribution and sales representation for a variety of photonics manufacturers. With the appointment of Market Tech, Zecotek has received its first order for the GLF-540–0.2 green fiber laser series from a major U.S.-based customer. “Zecotek’s fiber lasers will be highly attractive to a broad range of customers including OEM manufacturers who are looking for different powers at specific wavelengths,” said Phillip Crowley, president and CEO of Market Tech. —Valerie C. Coffey

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