Pacific Lasertec acquires Melles Griot helium-neon laser business
HeNe lasers have narrow bandwidth, high beam quality, and low cost and are still widely used.
Apr 25th, 2019
Pacific Lasertec's Facility (Image: Pacific Lasertec) Pacific Lasertec (San Marcos, CA) has acquired the whole helium-neon (HeNe) laser product line from Melles Griot (Carlsbad, CA), including assets and inventory. The newly formed entity has brought manufacturing operations fully on line in an 18,700 sq. ft. facility near the location where the business was originally founded.Melles Griot was bought by CVI (Albuquerque, NM) in 2007 and CVI Melles Griot was then bought by IDEX (Lake Forest, IL) in 2011. Melles Griot has been making HeNe lasers since 1979. According to Pacific Lasertec's website (https://pacificlasertec.com/about), "Pacific Lasertec is a restart of a business originally founded in 1979 in San Marcos, CA by Melles Griot, whom, over the course of its history, became the worldwide leader in Helium Neon lasers with more than 60% of the worldwide market. This was based on the solid designs and vertically integrated manufacturing, which delivered, by far, the highest performance HeNe lasers in the world. While solid-state technology encroached on HeNe technology in the mid-1990’s, a very solid and profitable business has remained for this technology, due to its extremely narrow spectral linewidth, long operating lifetime, outstanding beam quality and high-value price points. Through 2017, Melles Griot maintained a global market leadership position."Wide use "There continues to be a solid worldwide base for helium-neon lasers, and for applications requiring extremely narrow linewidth, outstanding M-squared values, and operating lifetimes of 50,000 hours or more -- typically all for around $500 -- nothing else even comes close," says Lynn Strickland, CEO of Pacific Lasertec. "The baseline revenue also provides for an excellent growth foundation in select, strategic application areas requiring high-precision optomechanical design and fabrication." The company has retained all manufacturing infrastructure, the existing supplier base, and model numbers and design documentation, along with an employee base that is 100% composed of former Melles Griot staff. The company has established distribution agreements with a number of global distributors and is actively engaged with numerous key OEMs worldwide.Proven technology Note from the editor: I remember as an engineer in the 1980s using HeNe lasers, including those from Melles Griot, in my lab experiments. In those days, visible-light laser choices were practically limited to HeNe for red, helium-cadmium for blue, and argon-ion for cyan and blue. (Krypton lasers with multicolor output were also available, but I never saw one.) Red laser diodes were just appearing. And at some point in the 1980s, manufacturers of HeNe lasers, by pushing the technology, managed to get them to create green light in commercial products. We thought that was pretty cool. Source: Pacific Lasertec