LASER INDUSTRY REPORT

Four new contracts totaling more than $2 million have been awarded to Aculight for fiber-laser enhancements for particular applications.

Aculight wins four fiber-laser contracts

Four new contracts totaling more than $2 million have been awarded to Aculight for fiber-laser enhancements for particular applications. The contracts are a $70,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command to develop a blue/green fiber laser for undersea communications; a Navy Phase II SBIR contract for $750,000 to develop a compact green fiber laser for extended-range underwater imaging; a $750,000 Air Force Phase II SBIR contract to produce a high-peak-power, 1.5 µm erbium ytterbium fiber laser for integration into a 3-D ladar system; and a Naval Air Warfare Center contract to build a multichannel eye-safe fiber-laser transmitter for a multifunction ladar system to undergo captive flight tests aboard a T-39 aircraft.

Northrop Grumman defends against missiles

Northrop Grumman (Redondo Beach, CA) has developed the Skyguard laser-based air-defense system for U.S. government agencies and allies for near-term defense against short-range ballistic missiles, rockets, artillery shells, mortars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles.

Skyguard is derived from the successful Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) testbed and its predecessors developed by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Army and the Israel Ministry of Defence. It uses the same laser technology as the THEL-a deuterium fluoride laser-but with higher power and a larger beam, according to the company.

DataLase opens U.S. headquarters

Formerly known as Sherwood Technology, DataLase (Cheshire, England) has opened a new North American Headquarters in Atlanta, GA. The facility will house an applications laboratory to demonstrate the wide range of possibilities for laser marking using DataLase’s color-change technologies.

Synova to open U.S. micromachining center

Slated to open in early 2007, Synova’s (Lausanne, Switzerland) first laser micromachining center in the U.S. will be located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Silicon Valley-based facility will serve as a competence center for demonstration, sample testing, and application development. In addition, the facility will offer micromachining services to local industry.

Until now, the company’s application labs were based at Synova’s headquarters in Switzerland. “Establishing our presence here in the U.S. not only demonstrates our commitment to our existing customers, but also shows our focus on speeding the adoption of our technology to an undertapped, yet significant, customer base,” said Synova CEO Bernold Richerzhagen.

QPC awarded contract for optical-sensing lasers

Quintessence Photonics (Sylmar, CA), a subsidiary of QPC Lasers, designer and manufacturer of high-brightness semiconductor lasers, won a contract to develop and deliver direct-diode optical-sensing lasers based on its recently released high-power lasers with internal gratings. Optical sensing is critically important in the defense, homeland security, and industrial markets.

QinetiQ-led consortium wins laser contract

A consortium of eight partners led by QinetiQ (Hampshire, England) has been awarded $1.9 million in funding from the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry to develop mid-infrared semiconductor lasers with a wide range of potential commercial applications in healthcare, environmental monitoring, manufacturing, and free-space communications. The consortium will use strained-layer engineering to develop a new laser with a highly efficient active region that can operate close to room temperature without the need for expensive cooling.

Also in the news . . .

IMRA America (Ann Arbor, MI) was given exclusive rights to market a Naval Research Laboratory (Washington, D.C.)-owned patent, U.S. 6,496,301, “Helical Fiber Amplifier” for welding, marking, and other applications for fiber lasers. . . . Newly formed M SQUARED Lasers (Glasgow, Scotland) has appointed Elliot Scientific (Harpenden, England) to distribute its complete laser product range throughout Europe. . . . According to Santa Clara Consulting Group (SCCG; Santa Clara, CA), the blue-laser-disk technology market is expected to exceed $28 billion in sales in 2010. . . . Microvision (Redmond, WA) entered into a development agreement with a laser supplier (name not disclosed) for green laser systems for its MEMS-based laser-scanning projection systems. . . . Cascade Technologies (Stirling, Scotland) secured an additional $4.7 million in funding to develop further market opportunities for its quantum-cascade lasers. . . . Structured Materials Industries (Piscataway, NJ) received Phase I SBIR funding from NIST to develop a tunable terahertz source. . . . The PhlatLight product line from Luminus Devices (Woburn, MA), a solid-state light source powerful enough to illuminate large-screen rear-projection TVs, is now compliant with the European Union’s RoHS Directive.

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