Laser Industry Report

Feb. 1, 2004
Rochester laser lab gets $63 million; Spectra-Physics forms new strategic marketing group; New Wave sets up shop in China ; MORE...

Rochester laser lab gets $63 million

The Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) will receive more than $63 million in government funding next year to operate and expand the Omega laser program. The funding, which includes $20 million for the design, engineering, and construction of a new facility that will include four large laser beams to be used in conjunction with the Omega laser, is part of the FY 2004 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act. The $63.132 million is $23 million higher than the Bush administration's request, and is in addition to a $54.2 million appropriation secured last fiscal year.

The laboratory currently houses the 60-beam Omega laser, the largest operating UV laser in the world used for inertial confinement fusion research. The research at LLE in inertial-confinement fusion supports the stockpile stewardship program (SSP) of the Department of Energy with the long-term goal of fusion energy. The university said it is turning Omega into a petawatt facility that will support research in new scientific areas such as modeling the universe, understanding the quantum world, and studying relativistic laser-matter interactions.

Spectra-Physics forms new strategic marketing group

Spectra-Physics (Mountain View, CA) has created a new strategic marketing group "to define market-driven business strategies for long-term, profitable growth." The group will focus on four key market segments: microelectronics, industrial manufacturing, medical/biotechnology, and research. In addition to identifying product and market opportunities in these areas, the group will also pursue strategic partnerships and acquisition opportunities. Spectra-Physics has hired industry veteran Heinrich Endert to take responsibility for microelectronics. Wolfgang Gries will take responsibility for industrial manufacturing. Gries was one of the cofounders of Laser Analytical Systems (Stahnsdorf, Germany), which was acquired by Spectra-Physics in 2000.

"Lasers and photonics have really matured as key enabling technologies in some very diverse commercial applications," said Steve Sheng, president of Spectra-Physics Lasers Division. "For laser manufacturers, it is no longer sufficient just to be a technology leader; we have to develop products and business development strategies in close concert with these applications."

New Wave sets up shop in China

New Wave Research (Fremont, CA), a developer of laser systems for microelectronic and analytical applications, has opened an office in Shanghai, China, to provide support and service for the company's products, including laser systems for LED, flat-panel display, and semiconductor manufacturing. The Shanghai office becomes the company's third office in Asia; others are located in Taiwan and Japan. New Wave Research manufactures the EZ Laze and QuikLaze laser cutting systems for semiconductor failure analysis and flat-panel display and LCD repair applications. The company also offers the AccuScribe sapphire wafer scribing system for semiconductor die singulation applications.

Wavelight to open U.S. subsidiary

Medical-laser manufacturer WaveLight Laser Technologie (Erlangen, German) has announced plans to establish its U.S. headquarters in Virginia. Through a $5 million investment, the company will create 30 new jobs. "Both the transportation links and the growth opportunities have convinced us that the location we have chosen is the ideal starting point for our U.S. market entry, and we will manage all U.S. activities from here in future," said Max Reindl, Wavelight CEO. "Overall, we are expecting to strengthen our market position as a high-tech laser manufacturer in the field of medical technology, especially in the United States."

In October 2003, WaveLight received FDA approval to market its Allegretto Wave excimer laser system in the United States for use in LASIK surgery procedures. The company manufactures laser systems for ophthalmology, aesthetic surgery, urology, and industrial applications.

Also in the news . . .

GSI Lumonics (Billerica, MA) won a $6 million order to supply a laser tool for an unindentified U.S.-based integrated circuit manufacturer. According to Nino Federico, vice-president and general manager of the company's laser systems division, recent strong demand from a variety of markets, including automotive and for new consumer electronic devices, has translated into a need for precise, reliable laser trim. . . . Medical-laser manufacturer Lumenis (Yokneam, Israel) reached an agreement with RH Technologies (Nazareth Illit, Israel) to outsource its manufacturing and service operations at its Pleasanton, CA, site. RH will operate at the existing site in Pleasanton and will supply Lumenis with products and the related parts and service; the research and development and marketing activities previously based in Pleasanton will be transferred to the Lumenis's offices in Santa Clara, CA.

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