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Finland invests in photonics cluster

06 Jul 2005

The photonics community of Tampere has formed a local cluster to link laser research and production in the region.

The photonics community in Tampere, Finland has formed a local cluster to unite academic research with companies and aid the development of diode lasers and fiber lasers in the region.

“The Laser Competence Centre [LCC] Finland was established on 7 June and aims to speed up technology exploitation and support company needs,” Markus Pessa, director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) told delegates at LASER 2005 in Munich last month. “Already 20 companies have paid a membership of EURO 3500 per year to join and we expect another 20 to 30 companies to join before the end of the year.”

Local firms in the region that have already signed up include Coherent Finland (formerly Tutcore Oy), Modulight, Corelase and EpiCrystals. Other well known names from further afield include Nokia, Heptagon and Oxford Instruments.

LCC’s activities include laser development, integration of lasers with production equipment, and end-user training. It has been donated a V90 type molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) reactor, worth EURO 1.5 m, by Coherent.

The reactor will be installed at the ORC this autumn and has a production capacity that is triple that of the ORC’s six existing MBE reactors. It is the only reactor of its type in a European university and will make it possible to manufacture III-V optoelectronic components in larger batches than was previously possible.

“The Finnish laser industry will certainly benefit from this donation,” said Pessa. “There is a unique link between research and production in Tampere. A new branch of export industry -- the industrial manufacture of epitaxial semiconductors and semiconductor and fiber lasers -- has emerged quickly.”

  • Tampere is hosting an international summer school on “New Frontiers in Optical Technologies” next month (15-20 August). For more information visit www.orc.tut.fi

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