June/July 2009

FEATURE

Fibre lasers defy economy

Fibre lasers were introduced recently in comparison to legacy technologies such as CO2, but the technology has been adopted rapidly within key markets, particularly industrial materials processing and medical lasers. According to a report recently commissioned by the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), the market for fibre lasers has grown from $105m in 2005 to $300m in 2008, equating to a compound annual growth rate of 42 per cent per annum.

FEATURE

In the firing line

Modern warfare is very different from that of, say, the First and Second World Wars. Weaponry has advanced and one major difference is the distance at which soldiers can engage the enemy. Wars are no longer fought at point-blank range and the ability to fire on targets from greater distances gives massive advantages, especially if the enemy cannot match those distances.

FEATURE

The big screen

A feature of modern society is that consumers have a continual appetite for new technologies; consumers have opted for DVD players, for example, at a rate which rendered the VHS standard technology obsolete within the space of a few years. Similarly, flat-panel displays (FPDs) have enjoyed a steady rise in popularity over the last decade, to the point that few retailers still stock anachronistic cathode ray tube TVs and monitors.

FEATURE

An eye for business

Laser Quantum’s roots can be traced back to Manchester University in the early 1990s, where a trio of PhD students from the Laser Photonics Group – Lawrie Gloster, Steve Lane and Alan Cox – began to flesh out an idea to apply their academic theories to commercial practice. ‘We had all completed our degrees at Manchester,’ says Gloster. ‘But I was looking at other places for my PhD. It was very clear to me, though, that the Laser Photonics Group was a world-class institution, and independently, we all decided that we were already in the best place we could possibly be.’