Laser Industry Report

As part of a long-term strategy to expand beyond its core microelectronics and industrial capabilities, JMAR Technologies (San Diego, CA) signed a binding agreement to acquire The LXT Group (Escondido, CA).

Nov 1st, 2004

JMAR moves into biotech with LXT deal

As part of a long-term strategy to expand beyond its core microelectronics and industrial capabilities, JMAR Technologies (San Diego, CA) signed a binding agreement to acquire The LXT Group (Escondido, CA). The acquisition is expected to close in January 2005. The two companies formed an alliance in June 2004 to jointly develop BioSentry, a laser-based, early-warning system to detect microorganisms in water supplies.

The new agreement calls for the ­purchase of all of the assets of LXT for $125,000 in cash, cancellation of $125,000 in promissory notes held by the two principals of LXT in favor of JMAR, and 180,000 shares of JMAR common stock, with future payment rights based on future sales of Bio­Sentry products. The integration of LXT’s water-testing technology and JMAR’s laser science and engineering expertise and business infrastructure facilitated the accelerated development of BioSentry. The first units are expected to be in the field in early 2005, ­followed by production ramp-up.

Government grants support Aculight fiber lasers

Aculight (Bothell, WA) has won two new contracts under the Small Business Innovation Research program. These grants include a Phase II contract from the Department of Energy (DOE) for $750,000 and a Phase I contract from the National Institutes of Health for $100,000. The DOE award will fund development of a compact, rugged, efficient, short-pulse fiber-laser source that can operate over a wide repetition rate range for use in active imaging and remote sensing systems. For the National Institute of Health, Aculight will produce a compact, efficient ultraviolet laser source for use in Raman spectroscopy. Ultimately, Aculight’s laser source is intended to enable the development of a portable Raman spectrometer that could have applications in medical imaging, homeland security and industrial sensing.

Industry group reports 75% increase in laser shipments

Shipments of industrial-laser equipment and systems to North America and U.S. exports were up 75% to $173.6 million in the second quarter of 2004 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Laser ­Systems Product Group (LSPG) of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT; McLean, VA). Shipments within North America by the 41 companies reporting to LSPG’s statistical program totaled $119.8 million, while exports amounted to $53.8 million.

The LSPG research found that shipment of CO2 lasers increased nearly 50% for the second quarter of 2004, while Nd:YAG lasers were up 130% compared to second-quarter 2003. The report also shows cutting applications as the largest source of industrial laser activity in second-quarter 2004, accounting for about 55% of all shipments.

Datalogic adds Laservall to international portfolio

Datalogic (Bologna, Italy), the largest European manufacturer of barcode readers and portable data-collection terminals, has made a substantial addition to its traceability product line through the acquisition of laser manufacturer Laservall Group (Aosta, Italy). The manufacturing facilities of the group are based in Sesto Calende, Italy, and in Shenzhen, China. Laservall Group is also present in the United States and Asia with Laservall North America, based in Rhode Island, and Laservall Asia, based in Hong Kong.

For 10 years, the Laservall Group has specialized in the development and manufacturing of diode-pumped and lamp-pumped solid-state laser sources and systems for marking, engraving, microwelding, and laser soldering applications, serving, among others, the automotive, aerospace, medical device, electronics, and ID card industries. International sales account for more than 70% of the company’s annual turnover.

Also in the news . . .

Crystal IS (Watervliet, NY), a supplier of ultra-low-defect-density native aluminum nitride (AlN) single-crystal substrates, closed on $5 million of Series A round venture funding. Crystal IS’ plans to leverage its native AlN substrate technology to drive improvements in current devices and develop new high-performance III-nitride semiconductor device applications. . . . Sarnoff (Princeton, NJ), a manufacturer of custom-order semiconductor lasers, is stocking and selling a line of mid-infrared laser diodes operating at power outputs ranging from 20 mW to 1 W. This is the first time Sarnoff has shipped laser diodes from stock instead of making them only on custom order. . . . Candela (Wayland, MA) signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Chindex International (Bethesda, MD), a provider of Western health-care products and services in the People's Republic of China, to market and distribute Candela’s aesthetic laser systems to physicians in China.

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