laser industry report

Coherent buys Positive Light; LED flashlight bulb hits the market; TuiLaser celebrates 10th birthday; MORE...

Coherent buys Positive Light

Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Positive Light (Los Gatos, CA) for an undisclosed amount of cash. Positive Light will continue to operate from its base in Los Gatos under the existing management team. Positive Light, founded in 1991, is a designer and manufacturer of advanced solid-state lasers for the scientific and industrial markets with sales of approximately $20 million for its year ended September 2002.

LED flashlight bulb hits the market

LEDdynamics (Rochester, VT) has announced the introduction of an LED flashlight bulb replacement, providing up to five times the battery life of traditional incandescent or LED flashlights, according to the company. The LED bulb replacement will work with almost any flashlight that uses a standard flange flashlight bulb, regardless of the type of batteries the flashlight requires, from one to six cells, and has a rated life of more than ten years if operated continuously.

TuiLaser celebrates 10th birthday

TuiLaser (Munich, Germany) marked its 10-year anniversary in February and has shipped more than 2500 excimer lasers worldwide since 1993. Along the way, the company has also launched a successful spin-off—Toptica Photonics (Martinsried, Germany). Bavarian Photonics (Munich, Germany), another spin-off of TuiLaser, has added an Nd:YAG-based product line to its current Nd:YVO4-based industrial laser product line for cutting applications and deep-penetration welding.

Quantum delivers eyesafe rangefinder

Quantum Group (San Diego,CA) has implemented a new eyesafe microlaser originally conceived, designed, and developed by the U.S. Army CECOM RDEC Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD; Fort Belvoir, VA). Other members of the technology development team were Diffraction (Waitsfield, VT), which provided component testing, and Kigre (Hilton Head Island, SC), which developed low-loss, high-efficiency QX laser glass. The laser is expected to have wide application in rangefinders for up to 2-km ranges.

Grumman delivers ABL BILL

The Northrop Grumman Space Technology sector (Redondo Beach, CA) has delivered the Beacon Illuminator Laser (BILL), a high-power solid-state laser and a key component of the Missile Defense Agency's Airborne Laser (ABL) program. The ABL will consist of a chemical laser mounted in a Boeing 747-400 freighter airplane. The BILL, part of the ABL beam control/fire control system will measure atmospheric turbulence, which would degrade the beam quality of ABL's megawatt-class chemical laser.

Actinix receives UV-laser patent

Actinix (Soquel, CA) has received a patent for high-coherence and high-power vacuum-ultraviolet light generation. The patent is applicable to 157-nm semiconductor microlithography, photomask metrology and inspection, atomic physics research, and nanotechnology. The method described in the patent involves preparing a special "atomic cocktail" of xenon and mercury atoms. The xenon atoms provide the nonlinear effect that actually creates the vacuum-ultraviolet light while the mercury atoms increase the strength of the interaction through phasematching. Actinix uses two beams from a compact solid-state laser system to drive the xenon/mercury four-wave mixer.

Also in the news . . .

TOPTICA Photonics (Munich, Germany) has opened a U.S. office for sales and OEM customer support in Westfield, MA, and also plans to open a West Coast Office in the near future. . . . BFi OPTiLAS (Evry, France) and Exitech (Oxford, England) have signed a distribution agreement for Exitech pulsed-laser microprocessing systems in several European countries. . . . iolon (San Jose, CA), Intel (Santa Clara, CA), Bookham Technology (Oxfordshire, England) and Santur (Fremont, CA) have formed a multisource agreement (MSA) for tunable lasers. . . . Palomar Medical Technologies (Burlington, MA) and Gillette (Boston, MA) have signed an agreement to complete development and potentially commercialize a patented home-use, light-based hair-removal device for women. . . . Enfis (Swansea, England) has developed proprietary high-brightness LED array and optical and thermal management technologies aimed at providing low-cost, high-power solutions for medical and aesthetic applications, such as acne treatment, dental curing, and whitening. . . . Joining Technologies (East Granby, CT) has been named as the primary North American distributor of the TRUMPF (Ditzingen, Germany) PowerWeld laser workstation specifically designed for welding operations in the mold and tool-making industry.

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