Laser Industry Report

Nov. 1, 2002
Mixed reports from U.K. showcase; BAE Systems wins $3 million contract for laser alert systems; ESI to provide laser- processing equipment to Global Testing; MORE...

Mixed reports from U.K. showcase

Poor market conditions for telecom-related products and a new location in Wales tempered the climate for Photon '02 conference and Photonex 2002 exhibition held concurrently in September in England. Despite this, both the conference and the exhibition were successful and well supported, with reports of high standards of presentation and good levels of attendance. The programs that made up Photon '02 attracted about 360 delegates—the Applied Optics and Optoelectronics program focused on research, and the Industrial Technology Program concentrated on technology and applications. The Photonex exhibition, now in its 11th year, drew strong support from many different industry groups, and attracted more than 160 exhibitors. Attendance at the exhibition was down 12% from the 2001 exhibition total of 1350, but exhibitors were upbeat about the quality of the attendees.

BAE Systems wins $3 million contract for laser alert systems

BAE Systems (Austin, TX) has received a $3.1 million contract from ATK Integrated Defense Company (Clearwater, FL) for production of integrated laser-warning receiver systems to be integrated into ATK common-housing, fully integrated missile and laser warning systems to be installed on more than 3000 U.S. Navy and Air Force helicopters and transport aircraft. Production deliveries were scheduled to begin in September and extend to October 2003. Laser-warning technology alerts aircrews when laser-aided or laser-guided threats are present, allowing them to take appropriate counter actions.

New Focus to develop tunable lasers for NASA

New Focus (San Jose, CA) has agreed to develop lasers for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, Calif.), based on existing New Focus tunable laser technology. The lasers will be used to selectively excite particular transitions of atomic cesium, enabling the production of a new generation of high-performance frequency standards. In the JPL application, the laser source will be used to "cool" the cesium atoms in a highly accurate atomic clock that will be carried by the Space Shuttle and placed on the International Space Station (ISS), as part of an experiment to test many of the predictions of Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The lasers will also have applications in the much larger market for commercial cesium clocks, including those deployed in GPS systems.

ESI to provide laser- processing equipment to Global Testing

Electro Scientific Industries. (Portland, OR) has received an order for 300-mm semiconductor laser-processing equipment from Global Testing to be installed at its facility in Hsin Chu, Taiwan. The equipment will ship during ESI's second fiscal quarter ending Nov. 30. This purchase is part of its continued expansion plans. Global Testing, based in Hsin Chu, Taiwan, with a subsidiary in Sunnyvale, CA, is a provider of assembly test services for the subcontractor market. "This will be the beginning of our 300-mm laser capability," said Jon Hwu, CEO.

PhotoMedex expands applications with purchase of SLT

PhotoMedex. (Radnor, PA) and Surgical Laser Technologies (SLT; Montgomeryville, PA) have entered into a definitive merger agreement in which PhotoMedex, which has focused on dermatological applications will acquire SLT. SLT offers a wide range of laser services, including urology, gynecology, orthopedics, and general surgery. In addition to the utilization of such lasers as the holmium, diode, YAG contact laser, and CO2 laser, SLT develops, manufactures, and markets healthcare lasers and their disposables.

VISX and Wavelight Laser Technologie reach agreement

VISX (Santa Clara) and Wavelight Laser Technologie (Erlangen, Germany) have entered into settlement and license agreements in which VISX has licensed its patents relating to refractive excimer lasers in the United States and international markets to Wavelight. Wavelight will pay a royalty to VISX for each procedure performed in the United States using a Wavelight refractive laser and will also pay a royalty to VISX for international equipment sales.

Also in the news . . .

The PowerNetix (San Jose, CA), high-power, single-mode 980-nm 9000 series laser module has met Telcordia standards. . . . Richardson Electronics (Lafox, IL), a provider of RF, wireless, and fiberoptic products, has signed an agreement with Honeywell's vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) product division (Richardson, TX) to distribute its laser products in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

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