Laser Industry Report

Jan. 1, 2000
Laser Power sells microlaser business to Melles Griot; University of California diagnoses the NIF; and more.

Laser Power sells microlaser business to Melles Griot

The board of directors of Laser Power Corp. (San Diego, CA) has sold its microlaser operations to Melles Griot (Irvine, CA) for "book value" and future royalty payments."The board had concluded that the best approach for obtaining the necessary resources to maximize the potential of the company's microlaser technology was through a sale of the microlaser business," said Dick Sharman, Laser Power CEO. Plans at Laser Power for this year include increasing deliveries on certain defense programs; completing construction of a government-funded, large-aperture, optic-coating facility; and working through production issues arising from relocation of its commercial optics business to Temecula, CA.

University of California diagnoses the NIF

A report on the National Ignition Facility (NIF; Livermore, CA) commissioned by the University of California (Oakland, CA) indicates that the university and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA) have begun taking steps to strengthen the NIF and direct it toward successful completion. Steps recommended in the report include having the laboratory director "take ownership and devote greater attention to the project," establishing a "surprise-free environment at the NIF," and implementing and adhering to "sound project-management protocols." The report also listed three contributing factors to the current NIF cost overrun: a low contingency budget for the NIF; a premature setting of baselines for technical, scope, cost, and schedule parameters; and early shortfalls in NIF funding.

JDS Uniphase markets microlaser technology rights

JDS Uniphase (San Jose, CA) is offering to sublicense its exclusive rights, expiring in December, to a Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA) patent for blue microlaser technology, according to Dwight Evard at JDS Uniphase. The company would not discuss development or marketing of the technology, beyond mentioning its current 1-mW, 473-nm product. Stanford is expecting broad commercial interest in nonexclusive licenses at year's end. Current nonexclusive licensees are Laser Power Corporation (San Diego, CA) and Lightwave Electronics (Mountain View, CA). See p. 133 for related story.

Nichia moves to stop sale of Cree LEDs in Japan

Sumitomo Corp. (Osaka, Japan) has been named in a lawsuit brought by Nichia Corp. (Anan, Japan) related to blue-light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The suit, filed in Tokyo District Court, alleges infringement of a patent issued to Nichia in Japan and seeks an injunction to stop Sumitomo from selling Cree Research (Durham, NC) standard-brightness blue LED products in Japan. The suit is not slowing down business for Cree, however, which recently announced $22 million in new LED orders.

Rofin-Sinar reorganizes to meet market changes

Anticipating high growth potential for diode-pumped, high-power solid-state lasers, Rofin-Sinar Laser GmbH has changed the organizational structure at its Hamburg, Germany, production facility. As of Dec. 1, there are two separate business units within the cutting and welding division, each of which will control its own development and production resources. "This step became necessary to accommodate the highly dynamic market [for diode-pumped technology]," said Peter Wirth, CEO of parent company Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc. (Plymouth, MI, and Hamburg, Germany). "We see high growth potential in the coming years for this new type of solid-state laser and expect to strengthen our position and reduce further development cycles with the new structure."

Also in the news . . .

Emcore Corp. (Somerset, NJ) has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in federal court against its former auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC; New York, NY), alleging that the accounting firm cost Emcore millions of dollars because the firm's partners owned shares in Emcore, a violation of federal Security and Exchange Commission rules. . . . The excimer-laser department of Komatsu (Santa Clara, CA) has announced development of a 193-nm, ArF, 2-kHz deep-UV light source for next-generation semiconductor lithography.

Hassaun Jones-Bey

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