Laser Industry Report

Feb. 1, 2005
Industrial-laser manufacturer ­Rofin Sinar Technologies (Plymouth, MI and Hamburg, Germany) has appointed Guenther Braun, its chief financial officer, to assume the CEO and chairman responsibilities on an interim basis.

Rofin-Sinar appoints interim CEO

Industrial-laser manufacturer ­Rofin-Sinar Technologies (Plymouth, MI and Hamburg, Germany) has appointed Guenther Braun, its chief financial officer, to assume the CEO and chairman responsibilities on an interim basis. In early January Peter Wirth, Rofin-Sinar chairman and CEO, was hospitalized after experiencing a stroke. Although Wirth’s prognosis was still undetermined as of press time, his condition is improving and he intends to resume his responsibilities when his recovery is complete.

OFS pursues breakthroughs in fiber-laser design

With a new two-year Advanced Technology Program (ATP) award in its pocket, OFS Laboratories (Murray Hill, NJ) is hoping to achieve the breakthroughs in optical-fiber design that will enable the performance improvements necessary to spur widespread adoption of fiber lasers for industrial applications. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Boulder, CO) will provide up to $2 million in ATP funding to OFS Laboratories to support the development of new components and new processes for manufacturing high-power fiber lasers in their facilities in Murray Hill and Somerset, NJ.

In theory, fiber lasers can overcome the limitations of conventional solid-state lasers in beam quality, pulse repetition rate, and average power. However, problems with energy storage in the gain medium and nonlinear optical effects in the fiber limit the user of fiber lasers for pulsed, high-power applications. ­According to David DiGiovanni, ­director of OFS, the company’s ATP activity is designed to ensure that advances in specialty fiber designs, leading to better fiber-laser products, will find their way into industry through the generation of a number of patents that can be licensed by other manufacturers in the future.

Paradigm Lasers relocates to Washington

Paradigm Lasers (Spokane, WA), a designer and manufacturer of diode-pumped solid-state laser systems, has moved operations from East Rochester, NY to the Spokane Valley. The company is now operating and leasing a 5000-sq-ft facility at Evergreen Business Park and plans to hire 15 employees in the next 12 months. Paradigm designs, develops, and manufactures laser systems for such applications as precision drilling and welding, low light level therapy, hair removal, remote sensing, and terrain mapping.

Biolase acquires Diodem IP portfolio

Biolase Technology (San Clemente, CA) has acquired the intellectual property portfolio of Diodem. As a result of the acquisition, Diodem will immediately withdraw its patent infringement claims against the company. Under the terms of the transaction, Biolase is acquiring all of the intellectual property portfolio of Diodem LLC, consisting of eight U.S. and international patents for $3.0 million in cash, $4.5 million in common stock, and 81,037 five-year warrants at a strike price of $11.06 per share.

In related news, Biolase was granted a U.S. patent protecting key areas related to its laser pulse technology. U.S. Patent 6,821,272 has broad claims related to the laser pulse technology utilized in the Waterlase and Waterlase MD hard and soft tissue lasers. Method and apparatus claims cover the use of laser pulse technology, which allows the laser system to effectively interact with the water spray, to produce a fast, clean and precise cutting action.

Also in the news . . .

Picarro (Sunnyvale, CA) raised $15 million in series C financing. The funding will be used to accelerate execution of Picarro’s product roadmap for bio-instrument lasers and process control instrumentation and will support expansion in sales and marketing and continued growth in Picarro’s Cyan laser product line. . . . nLight (Vancouver, WA) named Optoprim (Vanves, France) its exclusive distributor in France and Italy. Optoprim will be responsible for sales and service of all of nLight’s extensive CW and QCW high-power visible and near-infrared diode laser product line. . . . Directed Energy Solutions (Colorado Springs, CO) was awarded a $4.8 million contract by the Missile Defense Agency and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a high energy “Air Laser” for the Department of Defense and a $1.6 million contract by the Airborne Laser Program Office for research and development that improves the chemical generation process for the excited oxygen that powers the laser, increases its efficiency and power, and decreases the weight of the weapon. . . . RPMC Lasers (O’Fallon, MO) has been selected as the North American distributor for Bright Solutions (Cura Carpignano, Italy). Bright Solutions designs and manufactures nanosecond and red/green/blue CW OEM diode pumped lasers and OEM fiber-coupled laser diode products.

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