Alpes Lasers (Neuchâtel, Switzerland), a spinoff from the University of Neuchatel, is the first company to offer for sale the quantum-cascade laser — technology developed at Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs (Murray Hill, NJ) and the subject of research at several universities and corporations worldwide. The company is offering the laser in the form of a starter kit for spectroscopy applications, which is the form expected to generate the most initial interest.
Founder Jérôme Faist, one of the inventors of quantum-cascade lasers while at Bell Labs, joined with Mattias Beck and Antoine Muller in August 1998 to form Alpes Lasers. The three men raised approximately $60,000 in personal funds to start the company and, according to Muller, plan to use venture capital next year to move from the university laboratory space they now occupy.
—W. Conard Holton