Laser Industry Report

May 1, 2005
JDS Uniphase (San Jose, CA) signed a definitive agreement to acquire Lightwave Electronics (Mountain View, CA) for $65 million in cash. According to JDSU, the deal is part of its strategy to expand its product line of solid-state lasers and broaden its customer base in growing laser markets.

JDSU buys Lightwave Electronics

JDS Uniphase (San Jose, CA) signed a definitive agreement to acquire Lightwave Electronics (Mountain View, CA) for $65 million in cash. According to JDSU, the deal is part of its strategy to expand its product line of solid-state lasers and broaden its customer base in growing laser markets.

Founded in 1984, Lightwave Electronics is a privately held provider of solid-state lasers for commercial markets, including materials processing, semiconductor fabrication, and biotech. The company has about 120 employees. The acquisition, subject to customary closing conditions, should be completed in the second calendar quarter of this year.

“This acquisition reinforces our commitment to the OEM laser business and is in line with our strategy to invest in profitable, growing markets,” said Hoss Christensen, vice president of JDS Uniphase’s Lasers, Optics and Display Product Group.

“The customer demand for high-­performance, precision lasers is driving our growth,” said Phillip Meredith, president and CEO of Lightwave Electronics. “The combination of Lightwave’s product portfolio and technology with JDS Uniphase’s broad range of commercial lasers, strong optical base, industry-leading manufacturing capabilities, and financial strength positions us well to provide exceptional market responsiveness.”

Blu-ray gains ground with Apple support

The burgeoning Blu-ray standard for optical storage on DVDs received another boost with the addition of Apple (Cupertino, CA) to the Blu-ray Disc Association’s (BDA) board of directors. Apple has been a leader in driving consumer adoption of DVD authoring since January 2001, when the company introduced the SuperDrive high-volume CD and DVD-burning drive and related software applications. The BDA was created to broaden support for Blu-ray Disc, which is touted as the next-generation optical disc for storing high-definition movies, photos, and other digital content. According to the BDA, Blu-ray discs will have five times larger capacity than current DVDs, with a single-layer Blu-ray Disc holding up to 25 gigabytes of data and a double-layer Blu-ray Disc holding up to 50 gigabytes of data.

Trimble to acquire Apache Technologies

Trimble (Sunnyvale, CA) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Apache Technologies (Dayton, OH) in an all-cash transaction. Apache designs, manufactures, and distributes professional laser products for construction leveling and alignment applications. Closing of the transaction, anticipated in April, is subject to usual and customary closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Trimble expects the Apache acquisition to extend its laser product portfolio for hand-held laser detectors and entry-level machine displays and control systems. Apache will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and will be reported within Trimble’s Engineering and Construction business segment. Trimble specializes in GPS, construction lasers, robotic stations, and machine-control solutions, and is creating a broad range of innovative solutions that change the way construction work is done. The Engineering and Construction business of Trimble is focusing on the development of technology and solutions in the core areas of surveying, construction, and infrastructure.

Axcel Photonics announces new ownership

Axcel Photonics (Marlborough, MA) announced the sale of the company to J. Jim Hsieh, founder of Lasertron and a pioneer in the field of fiber lasers. In addition, Hsieh will take the helm as CEO and has appointed Frank Hsieh as executive vice president in charge of sales and marketing. Wei Gao, founder of Axcel Photonics, will continue his duties as president. “We plan to position Axcel as the world’s leading manufacturer of high-power diode lasers in terms of performance, reliability, and quality,” said Hsieh. “Axcel has the technology to produce extremely high-power products. The next step is to make these readily available in the marketplace.”

Gail Overton

For more business news, subscribe to Optoelectronics Report. Contact Jayne Sears-Renfer at [email protected].

Also in the news . . .

Aculight(Bothell, WA) has won a new contract under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program from NASA for $75,000 to develop a compact, efficient, and robust ultraviolet fiber-laser system for space-based UV-Raman spectrometers. . . . nLight (Vancouver, WA) announced a record output of 88 W of continuous-wave power at 1470 nm from a single 1-cm ­indium phosphide (InP) diode-laser bar. . . . Reliant Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted 510(k) market approval of the Fraxel laser for skin resurfacing procedures.

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