Laser Industry Report

Coherent buys Microlase, enters T-ray and DWDM markets; Spectron Laser Systems forms subsidiary in the USA; Nakamura leaves Nichia for UC Santa Barbara; and more.

Coherent buys Microlase, enters T-ray and DWDM markets

Increasing its existing minority share to full ownership, Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) has acquired Microlase Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) and renamed the company Coherent Scotland. Microlase manufactures solid-state lasers for scientific research and semiconductor test equipment. In addition, Coherent Laser Group and Picometrix (Ann Arbor, MI) are collaborating in the manufacture and marketing of commercial time-domain terahertz (T-ray) systems. Picometrix has already produced a prototype system using technology developed at Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs (Murray Hill, NJ). Also, Coherent announced the introduction of the first of a series of optical components for the dense wavelength-division-multiplexing (DWDM) market.

Spectron Laser Systems forms subsidiary in the USA

Spectron Laser Systems Ltd. (Rugby, England), a manufacturer of Nd:YAG and CO2 lasers and accessories for scientific, medical, and OEM industrial applications, has formed a wholly owned subsidiary in the United States—Spectron Lasers USA Inc. (Warwick, RI). The US subsidiary will focus on CO2 laser manufacturing, customer support, applications development, and sales under the leadership of general manager Kevin White, formerly the Nd:YAG-laser product manager in the UK. "This is just part of Spectron's ongoing plans for improving its growth and potential in the US marketplace," said Mark Greenwood, managing director of Spectron Laser Systems.

Nakamura leaves Nichia for UC Santa Barbara

The inventor of the blue-light-emitting diode and laser diode, Shuji Nakamura, has resigned his position as head of R&D at Nichia Chemical Industries (Anan, Japan) to accept an appointment to the faculty of the College of Engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He will be joining one of the outstanding gallium nitride research programs in the world, which includes six professors and 30 graduate students. Nakamura said his decision was twofold—before he chose a particular university, he had to decide to leave industry for academia.

Cree expands facility to add LED capacity

Cree Inc. (Durham, NC), formerly Cree Research, is expanding manufacturing capacity for its high-brightness light-emitting-diode (LED) products. The company has completed a 42,000-sq ft expansion for production and administration and has also begun construction on a 125,000-sq ft expansion of production facilities (45% increase), scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2000. The company's multiyear factory-expansion plan also includes another 120,000-sq ft building.

GSI Lumonics examines several new suits

At the request of legal counsel for GSI Lumonics (Kanata, Ontario, Canada), which has filed an appeal, the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued an order to re-examine US Patent #5,265,114, owned by Electro Scientific Industries (ESI; Portland, OR). A federal jury upheld the patent last April and awarded ESI a $13.1 million damage judgment for patent infringement by General Scanning, which merged with Lumonics to become GSI Lumonics one year ago. GSI Lumonics has also filed suit in Massachusetts seeking a declaratory judgment that the company's QuantArray microarray analysis software does not infringe any copyright owned by BioDiscovery (Los Angeles, CA). BioDiscovery responded by filing a separate suit alleging that GSI Lumonics reverse-engineered software.

Also in the news . . .

Robert L. Mortenson, chairman and CEO of Lightwave Electronics (Mountain View, CA), has announced his intention to retire when an executive search is complete and a new CEO is in place. . . .A free-electron laser has been used for the first time in human surgery (removal of tissue from a brain tumor) at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN).

Hassaun Jones-Bey

For more business news, subscribe to Optoelectronics Report. Contact Jayne Sears-Renfer at jaynesr@pennwell.com.

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