Laser Industry Report

Coherent acquires Molectron Detector; Spectra-Physics integrates brands; Nichia and Sony tocollaborate on lasers ; MORE...

Coherent acquires Molectron Detector

Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) has agreed to acquire Molectron Detector (MDI; Portland, OR) for $11.5 million in cash. MDI and its senior management team will continue to operate from its base in Portland. "The acquisition provides our customers with the broadest selection of laser test and measurement equipment available," said John Ambroseo, president and CEO of Coherent. Ambroseo added that Coherent plans to leverage Molectron's power and energy measurement products and core technology into Coherent's next-generation products in both the scientific and commercial markets.

Spectra-Physics integrates brands

Spectra-Physics (Mountain View, CA) has announced a brand integration with six Thermo Electron (Waltham, MA) businesses, uniting the existing laser business with Laser Science, the operations and catalog of Oriel (including Opticon products), the specialty components of Corion, Hilger Crystals, and RGL (Richardson Gratings), and the imaging-camera business of CIDTEC. In addition, Richard F. Syron, chairman and chief executive officer of Thermo Electron will assume a newly created position of full-time executive chairman with specific assigned duties, and Marijn E. Dekkers, currently president and chief operating officer, will move into the position of president and chief executive officer. The COO position will not be filled.

Nichia and Sony tocollaborate on lasers

Nichia (Anan, Japan) and Sony (Tokyo, Japan) have reached a basic agreement whereby they will jointly develop blue-violet laser diodes, for mass-production, for use in optical disc recording and playback by spring 2003 following the joint development started in June 2002. Specifically, the two companies will jointly develop 405-nm high-output blue-violet laser diodes for "Blu-ray Disc," a next-generation large-capacity optical-disc video-recording format, and they will enhance their technological level for mass production planned for spring 2003. Once mass production has begun, the two companies will manufacture and sell the products resulting from joint development.

Three groups win Leibinger Innovation Prize

The Berthold Leibinger Innovation Prize for outstanding achievements in applied laser physics for production technology and laser medicine has been awarded to three groups: The Disk Laser Group, of the University of Stuttgart's Institute of high-power beam technology won for a new laser, primarily used in material processing and laser medicine. Tibor Juhasz and Ronald Kurtz, cofounders of IntraLase, won for developing a laser scalpel for use in optical surgery in the United States. The third prize was awarded to three employees of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany. Stefan Hell and his colleagues, Marcus Dyba and Alexander Egner, received the award for their patented nanometer-resolution optical microscope.

Laser display market morale improves

After an economic recession that saw a leading U.S. laser show company go out of business and several others cut staffing, attendees at the recent annual conference of the International Laser Display Association (ILDA; Orlando, FL) confided that customers were again placing orders for laser equipment and laser shows. Only about half of ILDA's 120 members attended the meeting, but those present talked with optimism about renewing their marketing efforts and taking advantage of the many products on display. Most of the new products were solid-state 532-nm lasers in the 2- to 5-W range.

Also in the news . . .

Just days after announcing a $15 million third round of venture funding, Alfalight (Madison, WI) reported that it is in the process of closing its Montreal, Canada, manufacturing facility and consolidating these operations in Madison. The company employs about 55 people, down from its last publicly reported headcount of 85 in June 2001. . . . CST Global (Glasgow, Scotland) has launched a customized distributed-feedback laser-diode fabrication service. The new service adds a pure-play optoelectronic compound-semiconductor foundry CST offering. . . . Optical components supplier SPI (Southampton, England) has been awarded a contract by QinetiQ (the science and technology research company formed in England from part of the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency) to design, develop, and manufacture distributed-feedback fiber lasers (DFBs) for sensing acoustic signals. . . . Rockwell Scientific (RSC; Thousand Oaks, CA) is offering direct write electron beam lithographic (EBL) services.

Hassaun A. Jones-Bey

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