Laser Industry Report

July 1, 2005
Lockheed Martin has been selected by General Atomics (San Diego, CA) as weapon system integrator for the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS).

Lockheed Martin selected to lead laser weapon development

Lockheed Martin has been selected by General Atomics (San Diego, CA) as weapon system integrator for the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS). General Atomics’ Photonics Division is under contract to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop and demonstrate the lightweight, solid-state laser weapon system.

The HELLADS initiative will investigate and validate a new laser design that enables a laser weapon system to achieve an order of magnitude reduction in weight with respect to ­other high-energy laser system concepts. Once key weapon system parameters have been demonstrated, a tactical-scale HELLADS system will be developed and integrated into a surrogate military platform for demonstration of key capabilities.

Gigaphoton shipping new excimer laser for lithography

Gigaphoton (Tochigi-ken, Japan), a light-source manufacturer for the semiconductor industry, has begun volume production and shipment of a new argon fluoride (ArF) excimer laser, the GT40A (emission wavelength 193 nm; repetition rate 4 kHz) that has been tested and qualified for integration with lithography tools at ASML Holding NV (Veldhoven, The Netherlands).

The new laser will be mounted on ASML lithography systems that are scheduled for delivery to major global semiconductor manufacturers in mid-2005.

Research finds laser pointers can cause eye damage

Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) ophthalmologists have found that commercially available Class 3A green laser pointers can cause visible harm to the eye’s retina with exposures as short as 60 seconds. The findings are published in the May issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Dennis Robertson, a Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist, conducted investigations with a green laser pointer directed to the retina of a patient’s eye; the eye was scheduled for removal because of a malignancy. The green laser damaged the pigment layer of the retina, ­although it did not cause a measurable decrease in the visual function of the patient’s eye. Robertson believes that longer exposures could harm vision, however. He also warns about potential damage from higher-powered green ­laser pointers.

SPI receives $3.5 million for fiber-laser research

The Air Force Research Laboratory (Kirtland Air Force Base, NM) is giving SPI (Los Gatos, CA) nearly $3.5 million as part of a research program to develop a high-power fiber laser. Over the next two years, the laboratory’s Directed Energy Directorate will be working with SPI on specialized fiber amplifiers. The eventual goal is a laser weapon system that can be carried onto the battlefield to do such things as detonate land mines, pinpoint targets, and even shoot down incoming missiles.

Photop and Pavilion to collaborate in laser development

Photop Technologies (Fuzhou, China) and Pavilion Integration (PIC; Fremont, CA) signed a codevelopment and joint manufacturing agreement targeting robust and cost-­competitive red, green, and blue lasers for the demanding biotech, graphics, and metrology markets. PIC will focus on innovative laser designs, product development, and global marketing and customer support for the biotech and medical instrumentation market.

Also in the news . . .

Thales Laser Diodes (TLD; Orsay, France) was awarded a €2 million (US $2.6 million) contract for the AEOLUS satellite program of the European Space Agency (ESA) for the production of laser-diode stacks and for the specific test program over an 18-month period. . . . Günther Braun has been named president and CEO of industrial-laser manufacturer Rofin-Sinar Technologies. Braun served as CFO of Rofin-Sinar since 1996. . . . Spectra Couleur (Berlin, Germany), a supplier of visible upconversion fiber-laser systems for OEM, life science, and research applications, has appointed Market Tech (Scotts Valley, CA) as its exclusive distributor in North America for all laser products. . . . Portable Power Systems (St. Louis, Missouri) and Keystone International (Japan) have reached a distribution agreement that allows Keystone to act as sole distributor for Portable Power’s laser diode driver products. . . . nmLaser Products (Sunnyvale, CA), manufacturer of high-irradiance laser shutters, launched its online laser-shutter applications tutorials to expedite ease of shutter integration for OEMs and researchers. . . . Beginning in July 2005 as part of its University Donation Program, ILX Lightwave (Bozeman, MT), manufacturer of laser diode instrumentation and test systems, will award $10,000 in ILX Lightwave equipment biannually to selected applicants

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