Laser Industry Report

To strengthen its product portfolio, Bookham announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Avalon Photonics (Zurich, Switzerland), a supplier of single-mode and multimode vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) chips, arrays, and subassemblies for sensing and datacom applications.

Apr 1st, 2006

Bookham to acquire VCSEL maker

To strengthen its product portfolio, Bookham announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Avalon Photonics (Zurich, Switzerland), a supplier of single-mode and multimode vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) chips, arrays, and subassemblies for sensing and datacom applications.

The company will transfer Avalon’s manufacturing to the Bookham facility. “We expect to leverage the newly combined manufacturing and technical strengths of both companies as we continue to expand our product base for the datacom and sensing markets,” said Giorgio Anania, president and CEO.

Coherent to buy Excel for $376 million

As part of its ongoing strategy to expand into markets with strong growth potential, Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Excel Technology (East Setauket, NY) in an all-cash transaction valued at $376 million.

“We believe the materials-processing market is poised for solid growth over the next decade as photonic-based tools continue to displace mechanical tools,” said John Ambroseo, president and CEO of Coherent.

U.K. finances new research institute

The University of Manchester (Manchester, England) has launched a new research institute specializing in light and laser technologies. The Photon Science Institute (PSI) was launched with financial support from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) of the U.K. The university said PSI would be the largest research and teaching center of its kind in the U.K., with a projected annual research income of $6 million. More information can be found at www.psi.manchester.ac.uk.

Fiber-laser partners target auto market

IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA), manufacturer of fiber lasers, and the Fraunhofer Center for Coatings and Laser Applications (Plymouth, MI), a center of excellence and innovation in laser process development, have formed an alliance to develop new welding, cutting, and brazing applications for the automotive, aerospace, and oilfield industries using IPG’s unique kilowatt fiber lasers and Fraunhofer’s applications expertise.

ILDA lobbying CDRH on laser-light shows

The International Laser Display Association (ILDA; www.ilda.wa.org) is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH; www.fda.gov/cdrh) to streamline the regulatory process and provide a higher level of safety to the public concerning laser-light shows and displays.

Lasers used for entertainment or informational display cannot be offered for sale until the CDRH approves a “variance” that allows the sale of an otherwise prohibited product. Customers cannot buy or use the product in public until a report is submitted to the CDRH detailing where, when, and how the product will be used.

At a recent stakeholders meeting sponsored by the CDRH, the CDRH agreed that it should not take months to get a variance and has proposed using the Internet as a tool for submitting variances and for reducing the time companies must wait to get approval.

DARPA to push mid-IR laser efficiencies

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced the availability of funding for the Efficient Midwave Infrared Lasers (EMIL) program, intended to drive the efficiency of such lasers more than an order of magnitude beyond the state of the art, with a goal of greater than 50% efficiency. The solicitation and information pamphlet are available on the Federal Business Opportunities and Federal Grants websites at www.fbo.gov and www.grants.gov, respectively.

For more business news visit www.optoelectronicsreport.com.

Also in the news . . .

Osram Opto Semiconductors (Munich, Germany) has granted Avago Technologies (San Jose, CA) a patent license to manufacture and sell white LEDs with special conversion technology, and Avago has granted Osram a patent license covering certain LED systems. . . . ficonTEC (Bremen, Germany) received an order for a fully automated laser-bar soldering and inspection system from Alfalight (Madison, WI), a manufacturer of high-power diode-laser products. . . . Aculight (Bothell, WA) won two contracts from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base (Albuquerque, NM) totaling $2.6 million in 2005 and $935,000 in 2006 to develop infrared semiconductor lasers for aircraft defense. . . . MetaStable Instruments (St. Peters, MO) received U.S. Patent 6,992,843 covering refractive light-beam steerers for airborne laser radar applications. . . . Alpes Lasers (Neuchâtel, Switzerland) has acquiredInnovative Processing (IPAG; Darmstadt, Germany), creating a new German company, AL Technologies, to continue IPAG’s business in buried heterostructure semiconductor lasers and wafer growth. . . . Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) is exiting the HeNe business; existing customers will be redirected to Melles Griot (Carlsbad, CA).

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