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Industrial laser market lifts diode sales in Japan

According to Yano Research Institute, the economic recovery in Japan is helping to drive up sales of high-power laser machining equipment, including laser diodes.

Industry-wide economic recovery and increased capital investment in Japan is driving up sales of all kinds of lasers, including high-power laser diodes based on III-V materials.

That s according to the latest study of the laser machine market by Yano Research Institute (YRI), an analyst firm based in Tokyo.

It says that demand for manufacturing equipment from the automotive, flat-panel display, semiconductor and electronic parts industries is booming, with both domestic sales and exports of fiber-laser and disk-laser systems "“ both of which rely on diode pumping "“ feeling the benefit.

Unit sales of lasers are dominated by shipments of semiconductor sources operating in the sub-10 W class. YRI has estimated that 70,200 such lasers were sold in 2005, up from just 42,300 in the previous year.

Sales of fiber laser systems have also risen strongly in recent years, from just 190 in 2001 to 830 last year. These lasers use high-power single-emitters to create lasing in a doped fiber, producing a powerful, high-quality beam in a compact package.

YRI says that demand for these systems is being driven by marking applications, which is in turn a result of recently-introduced environmental measures such as new recycling laws.

High-power diode-pumped solid-state lasers ship in much smaller volumes, according to YRI s figures, but the estimated sale of 98 such systems in 2005 suggests that market demand has returned to its previous high point, which was seen in 2001.

YRI s report Laser Machine Market 2006 is available now priced $1950.

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