Laser Industry Report

Sales of fiber lasers leapt to new heights in 2005, according to the annual Laser Focus World market survey.

Fiber lasers ignite the market

Sales of fiber lasers leapt to new heights in 2005, according to the annual Laser Focus World market survey. The survey found that sales of fiber lasers in 2005 were up 53% over 2004 and are projected to continue growing aggressively into 2006 (see p. 78). More information about the fiber laser market will be available at the Fiber Laser Markets Forum during Photonics West: see

Senate restores most of NIF funding

The U.S. Senate has restored most of the funding for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) project at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL; Livermore, CA), after more than four months of uncertainty (see Optoelectronics Report, July 1, 2005). The Energy and Water Appropriations Conference Committee voted to approve a bill for FY 2006 that includes $327.4 million for NIF-$10 million less than the Bush Administration had requested.

According to LLNL, NIF is already more than 80% complete, and eight of its 192 laser beams have been placed into operation. The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2009, with first ignition experiments expected to begin the following year.

FLIR adds lasers to its portfolio

To gain greater control over the development of the laser subassemblies used in many of its thermal imaging products, FLIR Systems (Wilsonville, OR) entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the stock of Scientific Materials (Bozeman, MT) for $13 million in cash. Scientific Materials, founded in 1989 as a producer of specialty crystals for use in laser manufacturing, has since expanded into the production of military-grade laser assemblies and laser components used by a variety of manufacturers.

According to Tony Trunzo, senior vice president of strategy and development for FLIR, while the company’s infrared systems are passive, lasers are incorporated as rangefinders and designators. “As lasers have become increasingly important payloads in our higher-end systems, we believe having in-house capability improves the supply chain, reduces costs, and aids in product development,” he said.

Acquisition improves European presence

Nuvonyx (Bridgeton, MO) has acquired Thales Laser Diode (TLD; Paris, France), a provider of laser diodes to the marketplace for more than 15 years. As part of the acquisition strategy the TLD name will be changed to Nuvonyx Europe.

“This acquisition will allow us to expand our product line to now offer both actively and passively cooled continuous-wave (CW) and quasi-continuous-wave (QCW) laser-diode devices,” said Mark Zediker, Nuvonyx president and CEO. “It also provides Nuvonyx an immediate strategic presence in the European market, which is a critical link in our diode component and industrial laser system future growth strategy.”

High-brightness LED market thrives

From 1995 through 2004, the high-brightness LED (HB LED) market exhibited a remarkable growth history, with an average annual growth rate of 46%, resulting in a market size of $3.7 billion in 2004. According to the November 2005 report High-Brightness LED Global Supplier Analysis from Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA), the number of companies in 2005 supplying HB LEDs at different levels of the vertical supply chain exceeded 100 worldwide. Asia remains the largest source of HB LED supply, accounting for 76% of the packaged HB LED market and 57% of the epitaxial wafer and chip market in 2004.

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Also in the news . . .

Novaled (Dresden, Germany) raised $18 million in its second round of funding to commercialize its proprietary Pin OLED technology and materials. . . . Idemitsu Kosan Co. (Tokyo, Japan) and Sony have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop new OLED luminous materials. . . . nLight (Vancouver, WA), a manufacturer of high-power semiconductor lasers, signed an exclusive agreement with Lastek Group of Companies (Adelaide, South Australia) to distribute its products in Australia and New Zealand. . . . The University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics will receive $72.6 million in funding for current operations and construction of its new, four-beam extension facility, through a bill signed by President George W. Bush. . . . Lockheed Martin (Archbald, PA) was selected to develop, qualify, and produce the Paveway II Dual Mode Laser Guided Bomb (DMLGB), the next-generation precision-guided weapon system for the U.S. Navy, in a 2006 procurement contract worth $65 million and a five-year procurement with a potential value of $266 million. . . . WaveLight Laser Technologie (Erlangen, Germany) has taken a “significant” minority equity stake in Enfis (Swansea, Wales), a developer and manufacturer of high-power LEDs, to improve its position in health and cosmetic applications.

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