Laser Industry Report

The Photonic Applications, Systems, Technologies (PhAST) Conference and Laser Focus World are partnering for the 2006 PhAST/Laser FocusWorld Innovation Awards Program, to be presented at the CLEO/QELS and PhAST Plenary Session on May 22.

PhAST, Laser Focus World partner on Innovation Awards

The Photonic Applications, Systems, Technologies (PhAST) Conference and Laser Focus World are partnering for the 2006 PhAST/Laser FocusWorld Innovation Awards Program, to be presented at the CLEO/QELS and PhAST Plenary Session on May 22. Companies exhibiting at CLEO/QELS are eligible to participate. “Innovation is a hallmark of the industry as a whole and a theme of the PhAST Conference, and Laser Focus World is a highly respected and widely read industry publication. The partnership was a natural fit,” said Corey Dunsky, 2006 PhAST cochair. Companies will address areas such as the product’s impact on the optics industry, the life expectancy of the application, and how the service will benefit the industry in a unique way. The products and applications chosen will be showcased before top industry decision makers at the premier laser conference.

Entry deadline is March 17. For more information, visit

Lumics raises $6.6 million

Laser module manufacturer Lumics (Berlin, Germany) has successfully completed a round of funding for $6.6 million, led by a consortium of investors. The proceeds from this financing will enable Lumics to increase production capacity, further develop its laser-diode technology and expand its sales activities and international market base.

Lumics is reducing the operating costs associated with the deployment of high-power diode lasers with a patented manufacturing process for highly reliable components. Its combination of laser chip expertise and high-quality module manufacturing strategy allows the creation and rapid deployment of a full range of laser components for communication networks, analytical instruments, and industrial laser applications. Lumics grew its customer base this year with the addition of sales partners and end customers, including international telecom equipment suppliers and industrial laser manufacturers.

Cutera stock soars on aesthetic sales

Shares of Cutera (Brisbane, CA), a developer and manufacturer of aesthetic laser systems, have risen more than 70% in the last two months. The stock closed at around $30 per share in mid-December following news that a Massachusetts court had denied Cutera’s request to dismiss a patent-infringement case brought against the company by Palomar Medical Technologies (Burlington, MA). In fact, Palomar saw its stock rise more than $2 per share to close at $37.81 the same day.

Palomar and General Hospital Corp. (Boston, MA) allege that Cutera’s CoolGlide line of skin ablation and hair-removal lasers violates their patent, “Hair Removal Using Optical Pulses.” Cutera claims that technical information predating that patent makes the patent invalid. Patent lawsuits aside, the stock prices are surprising for two mid-sized medical-laser companies. “We believe this market is barely penetrated and is expanding out from the traditional dermatologists and plastic surgeons to include general practitioners, Ob/Gyns, and skin-care clinics,” said Ron Santilli, CFO of Cutera. “And we see no indication of a slowdown at this time.”

Laser pointer incidents still prevalent

People who aim laser pointers at planes could face fines of to $250,000 and five years in prison under a bill passed in early December by the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Ric Keller (R-FL), who authored the bill, says a series of reported incidents involving aircraft cockpits and laser beams has heightened safety concerns and that it is “only a matter of time before someone ends up killing over 200 people in a commercial airline crash.” Since late last year, 287 incidents have been documented, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA; Washington, D.C.).

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Also in the news . . .

Cree (Durham, NC) has licensed its white LED patent, U.S. Patent 6,600,175, to Kingbright Electronic Co.(Taiwan), an LED-chip customer. . . . Structured Materials Industries (SMI; Piscataway, NJ) was awarded a NASA Phase I SBIR to develop photovoltaics for high-power laser transmission systems at 1.05 µm, below the bandgap of silicon and most commercially available solar cells. . . . Firecomms (Cork, Ireland), a compound-semiconductor company that develops high-speed light sources in visible wavelengths, is opening of new regional offices in Houston, TX, and Yokohama, Japan. . . . Laserline (Muehlheim-Kaerlich, Germany) has opened a U.S. office in Los Gatos, CA, that will focus on sales, customer service, and technical support for its high-power laser-diode systems. . . .JMAR Technologies (San Diego, CA) entered into representation and sales agreements with LOT-Oriel, Lastek, and SP SYSTEC located in Germany, Australia, and South Korea, respectively, for representation of their diode-pumped high-power lasers. . . . Clark-MXR (Dexter, MI) is now an authorized distributor of the TOPAS OPA (optical parametric amplifier) manufactured by Light Conversion in Lithuania, for a packaged tunable laser with ultrashort pulses.

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