The ultrafast laser market will reach about $260 million in 2008 with healthy growth expected in coming years, fed by innovations in technology, new suppliers to the market, and some novel applications and strategies. These findings are published in a new technology and market report by Strategies Unlimited, Ultrafast Lasers--2008.
In addition, the report said that margins are high and the products are almost immune from commoditization, but the market is overfilled with competitors.
Ultrafast lasers have pulse durations in the picosecond and femtosecond range, so short that many materials can be cut or drilled with no heat damage. They are like fine-toothed saws in the tool box that can do precise and smooth cutting, while more conventional lasers are like coarse-toothed saws for faster cutting. Ultrafast lasers are also well-suited for generating non-linear reactions (such as for wavelength conversion or multi-photon imaging), for observing fast phenomena, and for very stable sources for metrology and instrumentation.
Coherent and Newport dominate ultrafast laser sales, with their strong product portfolios in titanium-doped sapphire lasers, amplifiers, and associated products. The new growth will mostly come from new designs, however. Both Coherent and Newport have introduced new ultrafast laser products that incorporate a fiber laser or amplifier. Two other laser industry leaders, Trumpf and Rofin-Sinar, entered the ultrafast laser business in the last year. Trumpf uses its thin-disk technology, while Rofin's Corelase acquisition uses fiber laser technology.
There are 33 other companies offering an ultrafast laser product. This is remarkable even for the highly fragmented laser industry, where success comes to companies that find a niche and patiently nurture relationships with customers to bring up new applications, one at a time.
Ultrafast Lasers—2008, available now, reviews the technology, applications, key trends, markets, and suppliers of ultrafast laser oscillators and amplifiers. It presents forecasts to 2012, including unit sales and price projections, along with estimates of revenues and market shares of key suppliers.
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Founded in 1979, Strategies Unlimited specializes in market research and strategic consulting directed at optoelectronics, photovoltaic components and systems, optical networking, and compound semiconductors. The company, based in Mountain View, CA, is a research unit of PennWell Corp., a global media and information company serving the energy and advanced technology markets since 1910.