LASER INDUSTRY REPORT

Founded in 2005 by former engineers and executives from Lightwave Electronics, Mobius Photonics (San Jose, CA) plans to informally launch its fiber-laser technology at Photonics West.

Mobius comes out of stealth mode

Founded in 2005 by former engineers and executives from Lightwave Electronics, Mobius Photonics (San Jose, CA) plans to informally launch its fiber-laser technology at Photonics West. The company will hold private demonstrations of its green (532 nm) and blue (355 nm) fiber lasers, which are initially being targeted at the industrial market-specifically, precision applications in microelectronics.

According to Laura Smoliar, Mobius founder and CEO, the company’s initial technology platform can deliver very high repetition rates in the nanosecond regime with very fast pulses, which translates into high throughput for industrial materials-processing applications at the micro and nano scales. In addition, the user can change the pulsewidth without changing the beam shape, which isn’t always the case with diode-pumped solid-state lasers, she says. The company plans to introduce this technology in the medical and display markets, as well as to the industrial market.

Laser specialist Exitech acquired by Oerlikon

Oerlikon (Pfäffikon, Switzerland) acquired the laser technology, staff, and equipment of Exitech (Oxford, England), a worldwide provider of nano and micro laser systems. Oerlikon’s optics, solar, and wafer-processing business units will benefit from the acquisition.

Because Oerlikon has had to purchase external technology for the process of laser scribing or cutting its solar cells into functioning modules, the acquisition is important. “With Exitech’s expertise, which we will now integrate in Oerlikon, we will be able to control the full value-adding process in the solar segment,” says Oerlikon CEO Thomas Limberger. The acquisition of Exitech’s laser technology opens up valuable know-how for other Oerlikon business units in manufacturing and structuring of color filters and optic sensors, or the production of semiconductors.

Iridex to buy Laserscope aesthetic business

A definitive agreement has been signed with American Medical Systems Holdings for Iridex (Mountain View, CA) to acquire the laser aesthetics business of medical-laser systems manufacturer Laserscope (San Jose, CA). American Medical purchased Laserscope in June of this year. Under terms of the agreement, Iridex will acquire certain assets and liabilities of Laserscope including numerous patents, and expects to integrate Laserscope’s manufacturing requirements into its Mountain View facility to increase production yields and enhance gross margins for both its ophthalmology and dermatology businesses.

QPC & Finisar terminate license agreement

An agreement initiated in September 2003 that gave Finisar (Sunnyvale, CA) a nonexclusive license to the technology and intellectual property (IP) of QPC Lasers (parent of Quintessence Photonics; Sylmar, CA) was terminated. “Since we became a public company in May of this year, QPC felt it was important to give our investors the exclusive right to our rich IP portfolio going forward,” said QPC cofounder and CFO George Lintz. “The original license agreement gave QPC the option of termination within five years and we always expected to exercise our termination right.”

In 2001, Finisar invested $5 million in equity in QPC, and in 2003 the company secured the license agreement in exchange for adding another $5 million to its significant equity position. The termination of the license agreement secures the IP portfolio for QPC and benefits QPC and Finisar alike-especially considering that Finisar remains the single largest shareholder with 6.75 million shares of QPC Lasers common stock.

BinOptics receives additional funding

To support the scaling of its line of telecom and datacom lasers designed for high-speed applications (up to 10 Gbit/s), BinOptics (Ithaca, NY) closed its Series C round of funding totaling $6 million. The funding will also be used to accelerate product development of etched-facet blue lasers for optical storage applications.

Also in the news . . .

Oxford Lasers (Dicot, England) announced that its management team now owns 100% of the equity in the company through a management buyout. . . . NL Nanosemiconductor (Dortmund, Germany) acquired Zia Laser (Albuquerque, NM); both companies are developers of quantum-dot lasers. . . . Fiber laser manufacturer SPI Lasers (Southampton, England) is opening a business support office in Shenzhen, China. . . . Rofin-Sinar Technologies (Plymouth, MI and Hamburg, Germany), developer and manufacturer of high-performance laser beam sources and laser-based solutions, experienced net sales of $420.9 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2006-an increase of $45.7 million or 12% over the comparable period in 2005. . . . Diode-laser manufacturer Alfalight (Madison, WI) has named Pacer International (England) and Appletec (Israel) as new distributors. . . . Lytron (Woburn, MA), manufacturer of cooling systems for optoelectronic equipment and lasers, launched a new German Web site at www.Lytron.de.

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