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Imperial Innovations invests $280K in the Midaz touch

11 Oct 2006

Midaz Lasers, a new spin off from Imperial College London, is joining the race to provide high-power DPSS lasers to the booming part-marking sector.

Imperial Innovations Group (IIG), a UK-based technology transfer company, has founded and invested £150,000 ($280,000) in spin-out Midaz Lasers, which is developing lasers for industrial markets. This investment in Midaz by IIG is part of a £300,000 ($560,000) funding round.

Midaz will provide a range of high-powered lasers, with a choice of different wavelengths from infrared to ultraviolet, which will cover multiple industrial applications in the area of marking and coding as well as micro machining. Other lasers in the range could be used for applications requiring UV or green wavelengths at high powers.

"We have a strong technology base based on a long period of research which meets a substantial market with clearly identified customer applications," said Susan Searle, CEO of Imperial Innovations. "We formed the business together with the academic team, having matched this with a commercial team and having validated industrial interest in the proposed products.

"We believe we are addressing a market segment worth more than $500 million altogether."

Specifications

Michael Damzen described to optics.org the likely technical specifications of Midaz range of lasers.

"Power outputs will be above 100 W with highest peak power between 100 kW and 1 MW. The lasers will offer excellent beam quality (where M2 is less than 1.2), pulse rates exceeding 1 MHz and short pulse duration below 10 ns. The proposed green and ultraviolet lasers will have powers of >50 W and >20 W respectively. In terms of physical specification, the lasers will have a small footprint - shoebox-sized or smaller - and a wall-plug efficiency above 30%. The lasers will also have the option of being air- or water-cooled."

Among its pending range is one device that Midaz believes to be "the world's smallest, most efficient and highest quality" DPSS laser. This model "is proven to have high output power and high beam quality suitable for micromachining, inspection, medical and sensing applications", the company boldly states.

Further, its low manufacturing cost would also make it a suitable replacement for industrial inkjets used in coding and marking products, removing the need for ink.

The company intends to use the funds raised to develop pre-production prototypes and fulfil initial customer requests from system integrators. Likely customers are in the field of coding and marking as well as in high speed processing in micro machining and inspection. Midaz Lasers will use system integrators as distribution channels to market.

The underlying technology stems from the research conducted at Imperial College London by Michael Damzen and his team in the Department of Physics. Damzen also becomes the technology director of Midaz. Ara Minassian, from the same department, is co-founder and chief scientific officer at the company.

The board of Midaz is strengthened further by the addition of Imperial Innovations's non-executive director, Paul Atherton as chairman. He is an experienced entrepreneur and has worked with a range of start-ups, including Queensgate Instruments, which he co-founded while working for his PhD at Imperial College, acting as managing director until its sale in March 2000. He is an angel investor and has invested the balance of £150,000 in Midaz in this funding round.

Dennis Camilleri also joins the company as Business Development Director and brings to the company, 25 years experience in laser sales and marketing having previously worked at Melles Griot UK and Willett.

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