Laser Industry News

Diodetec starts up in Southwestern Pennsylvania
Diodetec Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA), a start-up manufacturer of solid-state diode arrays to power advanced laser systems, will employ 12 people in the short term, and 35 to 50 in the next three years at its new facility in the Westmoreland Business and Technology Park in Washington Township, within 45 miles of Pittsburgh. Through a nonexclusive licensing agreement with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA), the company plans to use the silicon monolithic microchannel-cooled (SiMMS) process to fabricate and package the diode arrays. Diodetec worked closely with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center during the company's planning stages, and decided to locate in Southwestern Pennsylvania in part because of the proximity to the Electro-Optics Center (EOC)—a manufacturing technology center managed by the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory. EOC is located in neighboring Armstrong County, an area that has emerged as a growing center of electro-optics and photonics innovation.

Infinite wins $12 million DARPA contract for GCSELs
The Infinite Photonics subsidiary of Infinite Group (Warwick, RI and Orlando, FL) has entered an R&D contract with DARPA for $12 million, based on Infinite's proprietary grating-coupled surface-emitting laser (GCSEL) diode technology. The work will begin immediately and be completed by the end of 2003. "We will produce pump and source laser diodes, as well as grating-coupled semiconductor optical amplifiers," said Jeff Bullington, president of Infinite Photonics. "The program will allow Infinite Photonics to develop and commercialize single-mode devices specific to DARPA's goals for very high power, high repetition rates, and high beam quality." It will also enable Infinite Photonics to establish significant technological presence in the optoelectronics market by creating photonics-based products for both commercial and government applications, he added.

Agility teams with Nissho to enter Japanese market
Agility Communications (Santa Barbara, CA) has announced a strategic partnership with Nissho Electronics (Tokyo, Japan) that will give Agility entry into the Japanese marketplace. Under the partnership, Nissho will serve as Agility's distribution partner in Japan, increasing Agility's market leadership position as it continues to ramp up production volume of its tunable lasers. Nissho is also a participant in the simultaneously announced additional $27 million closing of Agility's Series C round of funding. Initially announced in September, Agility's first Series C closing totaled $83 million. Agility's Series B round totaled $70 million. The company's Series A round totaled $15 million. Seed funding from strategic investors brings Agility's total funding to over $200 million.

JMAR x-ray lithography wins $35 million contract
The JMAR Research (JRI; San Diego, CA) division of JMAR Technologies has received a DARPA contract valued at up to $34.5 million for delivery of the company's 1-nm point source x-ray lithography (XRL) systems. Performance advantages of XRL enable cost-effective production of the ultrahigh-speed gallium arsenide (GaAs) semiconductors required for many critical military applications, according to JMAR, such as operation of the electronic warfare arrays found on the U.S. Air Force's newest front-line fighter, the F-22 Raptor, and to the forward-looking radar on the recently approved Joint Strike Fighter. The XRL systems are also critical to the effectiveness of the U.S. Army's Longbow missile and are expected to play a key role in its evolving "digital soldier" program, as well as in a variety of classified airborne, space, and battlefield systems.

Laser-warning systems alert aircrews to missiles
BAE Systems Integrated Defense Solutions (Austin, TX) has received a $3.5 million contract from ATK Integrated Defense Company (Clearwater, FL) for production of a laser-warning receiver, to be integrated into the AN/AAR-47(V)2 missile-warning receiver produced by ATK. The AN/AAR-47(V)2 is the standard missile- and laser-warning sensor system for more than 3000 U.S. Navy and Air Force helicopters and transport aircraft. Laser-warning technology alerts aircrews that laser-aided or guided threats are present, allowing time for appropriate counteraction. The laser-warning receivers are produced in Austin, TX, and assembled into the sensors by ATK Integrated Defense Company.

Also in the news . . .
MicroLight Corp. of America (Houston, TX) has received Food and Drug Administration market clearance for use of the company's ML830 "Cold Laser" in the nonsurgical treatment and management of carpal tunnel syndrome. . . . Shipping of Iolon Inc.'s (San Jose, CA) Apollo-L high-power, widely tunable, L-band, external-cavity laser began to Innovance Networks (Piscataway, NJ) under a long-term, multimillion dollar contract.

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