Laser Industry Report

Newport to buy Spectra- Physics for $300M; ORA wins $1.7 million ATP contract; French laser firm triples capacity; MORE...

Newport to buy Spectra- Physics for $300M

Newport (Irvine, CA) has signed a definitive agreement with Thermo Electron to purchase Spectra-Physics (Mountain View, CA) for $300 million, creating a company expected to have more than $400 million in sales in FY2005. The combined company will have more than 2000 employees and 15 manufacturing plants in five countries; in addition, the deal will add more than 5000 products sold by Spectra-Physics to the 10,000-plus products offered by Newport.

Thermo Electron will retain ownership of a small business in the Optical Technologies Segment that makes highly technical digital cameras used in Thermo's Scientific Instruments Division. Guy Broadbent, president of Spectra-Physics, will remain with Thermo as a member of its executive team. Robert Phillippy, currently the vice president and general manager of the U.S. operations for Newport's Industrial and Scientific Technologies Division, will become Newport president and chief operating officer. Robert Deuster will retain the positions of chairman and chief executive officer.

In addition to greatly increasing Newport's range of products, the transaction is expected to provide Newport with better balance in its end markets and broader geographic presence.

"While the name of the company will continue to be Newport Corporation, the Spectra-Physics name is very strong in our industry and will continue to have an important and highly visible role in the marketplace," said David Rossi, director of marketing for Newport. "Spectra-Physics' expertise in lasers, instruments, gratings, and filters is an excellent complement to Newport's brand position in vibration control, motion systems, optics, and mounts. Together we will offer our customers a truly complete photonics solution."

ORA wins $1.7 million ATP contract

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Boulder, CO) awarded Optical Research Associates (ORA; Pasadena, CA) a $1.7 million Advanced Technology Program (ATP) award for the development of advanced-lithography-modeling algorithms. The award will fund ORA's "Fundamental Algorithms for Direct Metric Tolerancing and Illumination Optimization" project, which will focus on overcoming technical and modeling limitations in the current generation of software used by industry to design and build optical systems for semiconductor devices.

Projection lenses for photolithographic equipment are some of the most precise and sophisticated optical systems ever conceived and fabricated. Over the years, optical-design software used for these lenses has become just as sophisticated; such software must also take into account the effects of manufacturing tolerances at a very deep level. ORA's research will focus on the development of algorithms to help the industry improve both technologies under development now (193- and 157-nm lithography) and the next-generation extreme-UV systems. ORA will develop direct-metric tolerancing and compensator selection for projection optics; the company will also develop algorithms for optimization of illumination systems in extreme-UV lithography.

French laser firm triples capacity

Cristal Laser (Messein, France), a manufacturer of crystals for nonlinear optics, has relocated to a new production facility. Thanks to a €2 million (US$2.4 million) investment, Cristal Laser has tripled its capacity in terms of crystal growth to better serve its customers. The company is also preparing to purchase new equipment aimed at controlling the crystal polishing quality and automating the crystal cleaning process. Crystal Laser currently employs a staff of 13 and achieves a yearly, mainly export-related sales income of approximately €2 million (US$2.4 million).

Also in the news . . .

High Power Devices (HPD; North Brunswick, NJ), a manufacturer of high-power IR and visible laser diodes and laser-diode systems, has been qualified for registration to ISO 9001:2000 as of June 1 by SGS certification services. The ISO certification complements HPD's recent expansion, doubling the manufacturing area for large-volume production. . . . With the help of its wholly-owned subsidiary in Canada, Laser Components (Olching, Germany) is now able to offer high-power pulsed laser diodes in the 850-1550-nm range. The products are distributed through the worldwide sales network of the Laser Components group. . . . Synrad (Mukilteo, WA), a manufacturer of CO2 lasers, has formed a new distribution partnership with Laser 2000 Benelux in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Laser 2000 will handle distribution of Synrad's 10- to 400-W sealed CO2 lasers and FH Series marking heads in the Benelux region.

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