Laser industry report

April 1, 2005
Northrop Grumman establishes new group for high-energy lasers

Northrop Grumman establishes new group for high-energy lasers

Northrop Grumman (Redondo Beach, CA) has established a new business area to help transition its high-energy laser systems from the laboratory to the battlefield. The new group, dubbed Directed ­Energy Systems (DES), is being headed-up by Art Stephenson, a 28-year company veteran and former director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight ­Center. The DES division combines the ­activities of several Northrop Grumman subsidiaries, including Cutting Edge Optronics (St. Louis, MO) and ­Synoptics (Charlotte, NC), and will focus on the further development of chemical lasers, solid-state lasers, and rocket-based engagement ­systems.

Jenoptik plans new production facility

Jenoptik Diode Lab (Berlin-Adlershof, Germany) plans to build a new manufacturing facility to produce optoelectronic semiconductor components, with particular emphasis on semiconductor materials for high-power diode lasers. These lasers are used as activation sources for solid-state lasers, in material processing, display technology, and medical applications.

The new complex will include 500 m2 of clean rooms to support the production of semiconductor laser -diode chips. Three-inch gallium arsenide (GaAs) wafers will be produced at the site, structured for standard semiconductor production methods.

Jenoptik Diode Lab was founded in February 2002 as a spinoff of the Ferdinand Braun Institute for High Frequency Technology in Adlershof.

Candela to pay more royalties on device

An arbitrator ordered medical-laser manufacturer Candela (Wayland, MA) to pay additional royalties to the Regents of the University of California. Candela licenses certain patent rights from the Regents relating to technology incorporated in Candela’s dynamic cooling device (DCD).

The arbitrator found in favor of the Regents as to the primary issue in dispute: that Candela is obligated to pay royalties on the good faith list prices of its Sclero, SPTL, GentleLASE and GentleYAG laser systems when those systems are sold with DCDs, and not just on the good-faith list prices of the DCDs for sale with those systems. “We are disappointed with the outcome of the arbitrator’s interim decision, but we observe that the arbitrator made a finding that Candela acted in good faith with respect to its actions,” said ­Gerard ­Puorro, president and CEO of ­Candela.

Airbus orders FARO Laser trackers

FARO Technologies (Stuttgart, Germany, and Lake Mary, FL) received approximately $1.7 million in FARO Laser Tracker orders from Airbus. The orders consisted of seven units for Airbus U.K.’s A380 wing assembly plant, and five units for Airbus France’s A380 fuselage assembly plant.

The FARO Laser Tracker is a portable, three-dimensional measurement system that uses laser technology to effectively and accurately measure large parts, tooling and machinery within a 230-ft. range, with an accuracy of up to 0.001 inches. In addition to its many applications at Airbus, FARO Laser Trackers are used in many industries for tasks where high-precision measurement is needed, including aligning robotic assemblies.

DARPA releases details of ADHELS initiative

Scientists at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA; Arlington, VA) are moving ahead with a program to develop a 100-kW weapons-grade laser-diode system capable of destroying military targets. The 18-month first phase of the ADHELS program is to develop bright, high-power laser diodes and beam-combining and mode-­control devices that are strong enough to scale their designs up to 100 kW, and the 18-month second phase of the ADHELS program is to improve ­laser-diode and beam-combining technologies enough to build a 10-kW demonstration laser that ultimately is scalable up to at least 100 kW.

Gail Overton

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

Also in the news . . .

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL; Richland, WA) has received a four-year, $12.5 million contract from the U.S. Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop laser-based chemical weapon sensors. . . . BAE Systems (Hampshire, England) has been selected by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to convert a 60-mm mortar into a precision-guided munitions system. . . . Laser-diode developer Photonic Products (Hertfordshire, England) has moved to larger premises in Hatfield Broad Oak, Hertfordshire. . . . Laser Components (Olching, Germany) signed a distribution contract with New Source Technology (NST; Pleasanton, CA) covering the western United States. NST will be selling Laser Component’s high-power laser optics and laser-diode modules.

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