Lightning Optical acquisition follows on heels of SBIR wins
Laser-optics manufacturer II-VI Inc. (Saxonburg, PA) has signed a letter of intent to acquire optical-materials developer Lightning Optical Corp. (LOC, Tarpon Springs, FL) for an undisclosed sum. Says Paul Johnson, president of LOC, "In terms of market capacity, we see this as a tremendous opportunity to move forward." II-VI established a presence in the Florida area last year with the purchase of Virgo Optics (Port Richey, FL). Exactly how LOC will fit into the larger organization is yet to be determined, but a merger of LOC and Virgo is likely, according to II-VI CFO Jim Martinelli.
The announcement comes on the heels of LOC winning two major research grants. NASA Langley (Langley, VA) awarded the company a $600,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to improve growth techniques for chromium-doped lithium strontium aluminum fluoride (Cr:LiSAF), a material with potential as a diode-pumped solid-state laser medium. A second Phase I Department of Energy SBIR contract, worth $71,500, will cover development of robust ultraviolet coatings for nonlinear crystals, growth studies of the solid-state laser crystal chromium-doped lithium strontium gallium fluoride (Cr:LiSGaF), and comparisons between the optical and thermal properties of Cr:LiSGaF and Cr:LiSAF.