Laser Industry Report

Nortel sell short-wavelength laser business to Laser Diode; Spectra-Physics anticipates losses, realigns business; New facility and patent for Metrologic Instruments; Purchase of Merchantek Electro-Optics broadens New Wave product line; Millennial laser light show to benefit Seattle schools; Also in the news...

Nortel sells short-wavelength laser business to Laser Diode

Laser Diode Inc. (Edison, NJ) has acquired the short-wavelength laser business of the Nortel Networks Optoelectronics Division (Paignton, England). The transaction involves 850-, 905-, and 1550-nm pulsed semiconductor lasers for a variety of range-measuring applications, as well as fiberoptic instrumentation. Industries served by the short wavelengths extend outside the telecommunications area into a broad base of automotive and military manufacturing. For example, military applications range from missile fuses to weapons simulation and training tools.

Spectra-Physics anticipates losses, realigns business

Last month, Spectra-Physics (Mountain View, CA) announced an expected net loss of $300,000 to $800,000 for the third quarter, ended September 30, 1999, due to lower than anticipated sales, unfavorable shifts in product mix, and lower than expected returns on investment in certain markets. The company also announced that it would take special charges of approximately $5.7 million before taxes to reflect write-offs of inventory and other assets as well as a reduction in force. The company plans to exit the hard-disk-drive texturing business because of continued weakness in the disk-drive industry.

In addition, it will focus optics R&D and manufacturing on telecommunications and realign its R&D, product management, and distribution for high-power lasers to take advantage of rapidly changing technology cycles and new market opportunities such as in telecommunications.

New facility and patent for Metrologic Instruments

Metrologic Instruments Inc. (Blackwood, NJ) has opened a new facility—Metro (Suzhou) Technologies Co. Ltd.—for research, development, and manufacturing of laser scanners in Suzhou, Peoples Republic of China. The new facility is located in the Singapore-Suzhou Industrial Park, a joint venture between Singapore and China. Metrologic also has received the first patent issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office among several that the company has applied for related to the HoloTrak holographic barcode scanner.

Purchase of Merchantek Electro-Optics broadens New Wave product line

New Wave Research (Fremont, CA), a manufacturer of Nd:YAG lasers, has purchased Merchantek Electro-Optics (Bozeman, MT), a former customer and manufacturer of laser-ablation equipment. New Wave expects the resulting vertical integration to provide an entrée into the market for induction-coupled plasma-mass-spectrograph equipment. Product lines from both companies will be retained, with engineering concentrated in Bozeman and manufacturing concentrated in a new 32,000-sq ft facility in Fremont. Former Merchantek president John Roy has been named vice president of New Wave.

Millennial laser light show to benefit Seattle schools

At 11:30 pm on Friday, Dec. 31, 1999, Kindred Communications (Bellevue, WA) will host Moonlight Millennium at Pier 66, billed as the largest outdoor laser light show on the West Coast. Laser Fantasy International (Bellevue, WA) will produce the graphic laser light show and choreograph it to music; 1500 tickets to the event will be sold at a price of $350 each. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Alliance for Education and the John Stanford Endowment Fund, which provide resources to Seattle schools.

Also in the news . . .

Laser Diagnostic Technologies (San Diego, CA) has established a wholly owned subsidiary in Schriesheim, Germany (near Heidelberg), that will sell scanning laser products directly to European clinical customers. . . . Imaging Diagnostic Systems (Fort Lauderdale, FL) received a patent covering its laser imaging apparatus and biomedical markers that bind to cancer cells. . . . NASA has awarded three Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contracts to Q-Peak (Bedford, MA) based on Q-Peak's diode-pumped solid-state laser technology. . . . Cree Research (Durham, NC) has been awarded a contract through August 2001 from the US Air Force worth $4 million, including a 50% cost share funded by Cree, with the twin objectives of reducing the cost of 3-in. SiC substrates and developing 4-in. SiC substrates.

Hassaun Jones-Bey

More in Research