FIBEROPTICS - INDUSTRY REPORT

Diode-pumped solid-state lasers definitely "stole the show" at this year's Laser 99, held last month in Munich's new trade-fair center. The event attracted more than 15,000 visitors and 771 exhibitors-up almost 6% and 7%, respectively, compared to 1997-with both numbers representing new records, according to the organizers. The event is traditionally more industrially oriented, with a focus on the exhibition and commerce rather than the accompanying technical congress. This year, though,

Munich's Laser 99 show breaks records

Diode-pumped solid-state lasers definitely "stole the show" at this year's Laser 99, held last month in Munich's new trade-fair center. The event attracted more than 15,000 visitors and 771 exhibitors-up almost 6% and 7%, respectively, compared to 1997-with both numbers representing new records, according to the organizers. The event is traditionally more industrially oriented, with a focus on the exhibition and commerce rather than the accompanying technical congress. This year, though, attempts to improve the technical side resulted in participation by several other organizations-technical papers included those from CLEO/Europe-EQEC, the European Optical Society, and IEEE/LEOS, among others. Papers addressed many other aspects of laser technologies such as medical, rapid prototyping, and the emerging applications for ultrafast lasers.

On the industrial-laser side, Laser 99 was dominated by both diode-pumped solid-state lasers and direct diodes. According to one source, financial support from the German government partly fueled the popularity of diode technology. The show floor provided tangible evidence of what serious subsidy money can do to change an industry's focus. What was formerly a show dominated by carbon dioxide laser machines has now become a forum for the latest in diode-laser technology.

Laser Energetics buys alexandrite-laser technology

Laser Energetics Inc. (Princeton, NJ) has purchased all of the Allied-Signal Corp. (Morristown, NJ) alexandrite-laser technology-a move that represents a development cost of approximately $100 million. The agreement included 33 patents, bills of materials for more than 30 lasers and systems, laser laboratories, and hundreds of alexandrite-laser rods and boules. One result of the acquisition was that Laser Energetics was able to introduce industrialized air-cooled alexandrite lasers at this year's Conference on Lasers and Electro-optics.

Britain to invest in the National Ignition Facility

According to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA), the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans to contribute approximately $160 million to the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in exchange for access to the project. Laurie Manton, the MoD press officer, reported that the plan calls for the United Kingdom to invest the equivalent of $164.8 million over the next 10 years. Of that, $118.4 million will go toward the construction of a second target chamber, which will probably contain about a quarter of the 192 laser beams planned by the NIF for initiating nuclear fusion. The rest of the funding will be invested in research, which might be made available for development work by academia and industry. This reportedly depends on agreements reached between the MoD and the US Department of Energy.

Illumination venture formed by Emcore and GE Lighting

Emcore Corp. (Somerset, NJ) and GE Lighting (Cleveland, OH) have formed a joint venture called GELcore LLC, with the intent of developing high-brightness white-light and colored light-emitting diodes for illumination. The new company will develop products to replace more traditional light sources such as fluorescent, halogen, and nonhalogen incandescent bulbs. Emcore makes compound semiconductor wafers and devices, as well as the tools needed to manufacture them. GE Lighting will hold a 51% interest in GELcore, with Emcore holding the rest. GELcore expects to introduce its first commercial products late this year.

Also in the news . . .

Curtis Nichols, who until recently served as president and CEO of Thielenhaus Microfinish Corp. (Novi, MI), has been appointed president of Rofin-Sinar (Plymouth, MI). During a two-year transition period, this position had been held by Peter Wirth, who remains chairman and CEO of Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc. (Plymouth, MI, and Hamburg, Germany). . . . Haas Laser Technologies (Landing, NJ), which manufactures laser-beam-delivery components, has opened a new 35,000-sq ft manufacturing facility in Flanders, NJ, that includes expanded manufacturing laboratories. . . . Cymer Inc.(San Diego, CA) has formed a scientific board that will guide its development of deep-ultraviolet light sources used for integrated-circuit manufacture.

Paula M. Noaker

More in Lasers & Sources