Laser Industry Report

March 1, 2000
Thermo Electron reorganizes; Spectra-Physics Lasers stays public; Coherent announces an expansion and agreement; GSI Lumonics rakes in laser trim orders; and more.

Thermo Electron reorganizes; Spectra-Physics Lasers stays public

For now, Spectra-Physics Lasers (Mountain view, CA) will remain a public company, even though its parent firm Thermo Electron Corp. (Waltham, MA) is undergoing a major reorganization designed to refocus it on its core business of measurement and detection instruments. Thermo Electron will "continue to evaluate" the Spectra-Physics business, in which it acquired a major stake last year. Thermo Electron plans to split into three independent public entities. The core business, which retains the company name, will provide instruments for the life-sciences, telecommunications, analytical, process-control, laser, optical-components, precision temperature-control, and environmental-monitoring markets. Two businesses to be spun off as dividends to the firm's shareholders include Thermo Fibertek, which will focus on separation technologies for the pulp and paper industries and fiber-based composite products, and a new medical products company that will combine several existing business units.

Coherent announces an expansion and agreement

Coherent Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) made several key announcements in January. In a product-distribution agreement with Photogen Technologies (Knoxville, TN), Coherent Laser Group will market and sell the firm's Pulseview software and computer interface, which were developed for characterization and validation of ultrafast-pulse lasers. The firm also will form a Santa Clara-based telecom business unit to drive its active and passive fiberoptics product strategies. The group will draw on technology and resources from its Tampere, Finland, semiconductor growth facility, its Santa Clara semiconductor packaging and test center, and its Auburn, CA, optical-fabrication and coating plant.

GSI Lumonics rakes in laser trim orders

GSI Lumonics (Kanata, Ontario, Canada) has received more than $7.5 million in cumulative fourth-quarter orders for laser trim systems from North American semiconductor manufacturers. All orders will be filled in the first half of the year. Another order for multiple laser trim systems has been received from Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co. (Suwon, Korea). The laser trim technology allows production of precision linear and mixed-signal devices with increased functionality on smaller-geometry dies.

Laser barcode-system developer wins a National Medal of Technology

Symbol Technologies (Holtsville, NY) is the only corporate winner of a National Medal of Technology this year. Administered by the US Department of Commerce, the medal is the USA's highest honor for technological innovation and is awarded to US scientists, engineers, and corporations for groundbreaking contributions that commercialize a technology, create jobs, improve productivity, or otherwise stimulate the nation's growth and development. In the medal's 20-year history, there have been only 11 corporate winners. Symbol was cited "for creating the global market for laser barcode scanning and for technical innovation and practical application of mobile computing and wireless local-area-network technologies."

US Air Force and Applied Optoelectronics collaborate

In a $2 million cooperative agreement, the Air Force Research Laboratory (Kirtland AFB, NM) will work with Applied Optoelectronics (Sugar Land, TX) to develop a compact, low-cost semiconductor laser. The device, which will operate at 2-5 µm, will have both military and commercial applications, including infrared countermeasures, sensing of chemical weapons, and environmental monitoring.

Also in the news . . .

Tecstar (Newport Beach, CA) has formed an optoelectronics product group; the GaAs MOCvD foundry at its Applied Solar Division will now be available to support manufacturers of high- and ultrahigh-brightness LED devices and lamps. . . . The board of directors of Laser Power Corp. (San Diego, CA) has discontinued discussions with potential bidders interested in acquiring the company because none had made an offer at price levels comparable to recent stock market values. . . . Laser Diagnostic Technologies (San Diego, CA ) has moved its corporate headquarters to a new, 38,000-sq ft building to accommodate rapid growth.

Paula Noaker Powell

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

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