April 1, 2008
On the heels of its October 2007 $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Institutes of Health for a joint effort with Northwestern University to develop an optical cochlear implant, laser-technologies developer Aculight was awarded a new SBIR contract—an $850,000 two-phase fast-track award from the NIH that will fund a joint effort with the University of Washington to develop a laser-based vestibulat implant.

Aculight wins another medical-laser SBIR

On the heels of its October 2007 $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a joint effort with Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) to develop an optical cochlear implant (OCI), laser-technologies developer Aculight (Bothell, WA) was awarded a new SBIR contract—an $850,000 two-phase fast-track award from the NIH that will fund a joint effort with the University of Washington (Seattle, WA) to develop a laser-based vestibular implant.

“We’re laying the foundation for an optical implant that could treat patients with balance and vision impairments due to vestibular system damage,” said Mark Bendett, Aculight’s director of medical products. “This SBIR will enable Aculight to produce a laser-based nerve stimulation device that can be used in research studies at the University of Washington prior to developing a model for clinical applications.”

Air Force awards laser development contract

The Boeing Company was awarded a $49 million U.S. Air Force contract to advance the state of the art in laser technology. Under the Laser Application Support and In-house Research and Development contract, Boeing will support research, design, development, and testing at Air Force Research Laboratory sites at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM. Specific efforts will include working to advance gas, hybrid electric-gas, and chemical laser systems, as well as technologies related to high-power fiber lasers, fiber-laser pumps, nonlinear optics, solid-state lasers, and diode-pump lasers, as well as rapid prototyping of directed-energy technology, including semiconductor lasers, thin-disk lasers, laser-based infrared countermeasures, and mid-wave and long-wave infrared lasers.

Quantel consolidates nonmedical businesses

The Quantel Group (Les Ulis, France), a provider of laser solutions to the industrial, scientific, and medical communities since 1970, created a new division to consolidate its business operations in the nonmedical arena. The newly created Industrial and Scientific Laser Division includes Quantel USA (Bozeman, MT; formerly Big Sky Laser), Quantel Laser Diodes (Marcoussis, France), Quantel Fiber Laser R&D (Lannion, France), and the contracts, R&D, and manufacturing activities of Quantel in Les Ulis.

Gigaphoton to establish U.S. subsidiary

Lithography light-source manufacturer Gigaphoton (Oyama, Japan) is expanding its presence in the U.S. with a new subsidiary, Gigaphoton USA, to be located in Beaverton, OR. “With one-fifth of the worldwide market in the U.S., we’re fully committed to establishing our presence in the microlithography arena here, not only to enhance our support capabilities for our current customer base, but also to reach the new opportunities the market continues to hold,” said Gigaphoton USA president and CEO Hitoshi Tomaru.

Qioptiq acquisition to expand laser offering

Designer and manufacturer of optical solutions Qioptiq (Paris, France), entered into an agreement to acquire Point Source (Hamble, England), a specialist producer of fiber-optic laser delivery systems and lasers for commercial applications in biotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing.

Qioptiq CEO Benoit Bazire said, “As a group we have an existing small laser capability, yet it is an important part of the whole photonics arena. As such, we have been looking to strengthen our range of capabilities.” The acquisition of Point Source follows on from the successful acquisition of Linos by Qioptiq at the end of 2006.

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Also in the news . . .

Mobius Photonics (Santa Clara, CA) appointed Nexlase (Eching, Germany) to distribute its ultraviolet and visible fiber lasers throughout Europe. . . . Dilas (Mainz, Germany) will begin distributing m2K (Freiburg, Germany) single-emitter diode lasers. . . . Laser manufacturer Intense (Glasgow, Scotland) signed a distribution agreement with A&P Instruments (China) to have A&P distribute its entire line of high-power laser diodes within China. . . . JP Sercel Associates (JPSA; Manchester, NH), a designer, supplier, and systems integrator of laser materials-processing workstations, expanded and strengthened its job shop’s microprocessing capabilities with class 10000 cleanroom facilities and a galvanometer-equipped workstation. . . . Coherent announced that fiscal Q1 orders (three months ended Dec. 29, 2007) of $154.9 million increased 13.7% from the same prior year period and decreased by 5.4% compared to orders received in the immediately preceding quarter; Coherent also confirmed that its shares of common stock were relisted on NASDAQ under the symbol COHR. . . . Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI; Worcester, MA) received funds and equipment from fiber-laser maker IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA) to enhance the teaching and research capabilities of the IPG Photonics Laboratory, established at WPI in 2001.

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