Laser Industry Report

Oct. 1, 2003
Basting leaves Lambda Physik after 30 years; Spectra-Physics creates subsidiary to pursue China market PhotoSynergy wins Scottish SMART money for feasibility study; more...

Basting leaves Lambda Physik after 30 years

Dirk Basting, cofounder and chief executive of excimer-laser manufacturer Lambda Physik (Göttingen, Germany) for more than 30 years, has retired. His leaving was planned to coincide with the successful completion of a tender offer by Coherent (Santa Clara, CA), which now holds nearly 94% of all Lambda Physik shares. John Ambroseo, president and CEO of Coherent, has been appointed CEO of Lambda Physik; Lambda Physik, which has annual sales of (100 million (US$109 million) and around 400 employees, will remain in Germany, according to Basting, who will continue in an advisory position to the company.

Basting cofounded Lambda Physik in 1971 and has been a leader in the development and manufacture of excimer lasers for industrial, semiconductor, medical, and other applications. The merger with Coherent is expected to enable Lambda Physik to return to its excimer-laser roots. The company has developed some successful solid-state products, but this technology will now be absorbed into Coherent, allowing Lambda to refocus on its core competencies, according to Basting.

Spectra-Physics creates subsidiary to pursue China market

With the creation of a new subsidiary in Beijing, China, Spectra-Physics (Mountain View, CA) hopes to exploit the rapidly growing market for laser systems, photonic components, and OEM subsystems. Baining Liu, Spectra-Physics China operations director, will head the subsidiary. A satellite facility in Shanghai will provide support for the industrial market.

"Setting up a fully integrated and self-contained operation (in China) enables us to expand our attention to the growing industrial and commercial markets, where local support and fast service and repair turnaround are particularly critical," said Guy Broadbent, president of Spectra-Physics.

PhotoSynergy wins Scottish SMART money for feasibility study

New solid-state laser specialist PhotoSynergy (St. Andrews, Scotland), has been awarded funding by the Scottish Executive to take the company's ideas out of the labs and into the global marketplace. As part of the SMART award, the 16 winners each received a share of £720,000 (US$1.1 million) to undertake technical feasibility studies. Nearly £1.7million (US$2.7 million) of further funding will be made available to them to take novel ideas to preproduction prototype stage.

SMART awards are funded by the government and are designed to help new and existing small businesses, those with fewer than 50 employees, gain a competitive edge in the market by funding the development of innovative and commercially viable products and processes.

PhotoSynergy was established as a joint venture company by the University of St Andrews and Ferranti Photonics in March 2002. The company was set up to exploit the solid-state laser technology developed within the Photonics Innovation Centre of the University's School of Physics and Astronomy.

Northrop Grumman to study laser radiation effects

Northrop Grumman Information Technology (San Antonio, TX) has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command to conduct research into the physiological effects that occur when personnel are exposed to laser radiation and how these effects impact visual performance. These research areas, including laser safety, vision science, laser eye protection and personnel susceptibility, are significant to the safe testing and use of major laser weapon systems. The Optical Radiation Research and Field Services contract is worth up to $45 million over five years.

Under terms of the contract, Northrop Grumman IT will investigate the phenomena associated with the interaction of laser beams with biological systems, establish safe limits for laser exposure, and develop and test laser eye protection media.

For more business news, subscribe to Optoelectronics Report. Contact Jayne Sears-Renfer at [email protected].

Also in the news . . .

TuiLaser (Munich, Germany) has successfully installed its ExciStar M excimer laser in a New Wave Research UP193HE laser ablation system at the Open University (Milton Keynes, England). The UP193HE is specifically designed for solid sample introduction to ICP, ICP-MS, noble gas MS and stable isotope MS instruments. . . . The U.S. Army reportedly plans to spend about $500 million over five years to develop a mobile combat laser. According to Col. Richard DeFatta, project manager for the Short Range Air Defense program, development of the tractor-trailer-size Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser prototype begins next year, with two years of testing slated to begin in 2007.

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