Laser Industry Report

Dec. 1, 2000
Applied Optoelectronics wins SBIR award; SpectraSensors gains $4 million in financing; ontract awarded for Star Wars phase II; Alfalight opens 20,000-square-foot headquarters ...

Applied Optoelectronics wins SBIR award
Applied Optoelectronics Inc. (AOI; Sugar Land, TX) has received the 2000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Technology of the Year Award for its mid-infrared semiconductor laser. The laser was developed with SBIR funding from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, the US Air Force, and the National Science Foundation. "As a result of the SBIR funding we have developed a midinfrared laser that solves mission-critical problems for both commercial and industrial users, as well as the military," said Thompson Lin, president and CEO of AOI. Beyond missile-defense applications, mid-infrared lasers are also used in applications ranging from medical analysis of sensitive compounds to real-time detection of hazardous chemicals and explosives.

SpectraSensors gains $4 million in financing
SpectraSensors (Pasadena, CA) has received $4 million in equity financing from Forrest Binkley & Brown (Newport Beach, CA) and The United Company (Bristol, VA). The funds will be used to expand the manufacturing and marketing of laser-based gas-sensor products and to develop an absolute-wavelength-reference product and a widely tunable laser for optical communications, according to SpectraSensors cofounder Randy May. The SpectraSensors laser technology is licensed from the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA), which is also an equity shareholder in SpectraSensors.

Contract awarded for Star Wars phase II
A joint venture of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space (Sunnyvale, CA), TRW Space & Electronics (Redondo Beach, CA), and Boeing Space and Communications (Seal Beach, CA), called Team SBL-IFX, was awarded $97 million from the Air Force Space & Missile Systems Center (Los Angeles, CA) for the second phase of a Star Wars effort to launch an experimental laser into space in 2012 to shoot down a ballistic missile in the following year. The second-phase award for the Space-Based Laser Integrated Flight Experiment (SBL-IFX), funded by the US Air Force and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, extends through November 2001 and brings the total contract value to $240 million.

Alfalight opens 20,000-square-foot headquarters
Alfalight Inc. (Madison, WI), a developer of high-power laser diodes for the fiberoptic communications market, has opened a 20,000 sq ft headquarters facility in Madison, WI. "The new facility will house Alfalight's research, development, engineering, and wafer-manufacturing operations, which will facilitate significant in-house development and accelerate our product introductions," stated CEO Eric Apfelbach. Alfalight will package its products in its Canadian facility in Montreal, Quebec. The company has grown to more than 30 employees and expects significant growth in both geographic areas. Alfalight's target customers are subsystem and system manufacturers of DWDM, metro-DWDM, long-haul, ultralong-haul, and broadband optical transmission equipment.

JMAR investment in Bede increases 5000%
An October 30 IPO by Bede plc (London, England) has increased the value of a secured loan made last May to Bede from JMAR Technologies (San Diego, CA) by more than 5000%. The original three-year loan, in the amount of £450,000 (UK) included an option for JMAR to buy a 10% equity interest in Bede on a fully diluted, pre-IPO basis for £58,375. During the IPO, JMAR exercised its option by converting £58,375 of its loan into almost 2 million shares worth about £ 3.685 million ($5.4 million).

Also in the news . . .
Uniroyal Technology (Sarasota, FL), a producer of high-brightness light-emitting diodes, is bolstering its R&D staff to develop new buffer-layer technology and quantum-well structures in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum. . . . A US patent has been awarded to The POM Group (Detroit, MI) for the closed-loop optical-feedback system for its CAD-controlled laser-deposition process.

Hassaun Jones-Bey

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

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