News Article

Finnish Epi Start-up Scoops Venture Gong

EpiCrystals, a Finnish start-up company specializing in laser diode structures, has beaten off nearly 500 rivals to win the European Venture Contest 2006.

Finland s EpiCrystals has won the 2006 European Venture Contest, beating off 484 other hopefuls from across the region.

The start-up company, a spin-off from Tampere s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), develops and manufactures semiconductor laser diodes for applications in medicine and industrial laser systems.

EpiCrystals is also working on advanced light sourcesfor next-generation projection display applications. Its trademarked "DeCIBEL" laser is claimed to enable ultra-compact and cost-efficient home-theatre and office projectors.

"Eventually, miniaturized projectors can be integrated into mobile phones, PDAs, game consoles and other handheld electronic products," the company says.

Although keeping very specific details about its technology under wraps, EpiCrystals says that it is working on both edge-emitting and vertical-cavity structures operating in the 600-1300 nm range.

Founded in April 2003, the firm closed an initial round of funding one year later. It is taking part in two European Union research programs, and has three patents for high-power lasers pending.

It also claims to have several more commercial research programs ongoing in collaboration with three customers in Japan and one in the US.

EpiCrystals CEO Tomi Jouhti and Janne Konttinen collected the gong at an award ceremony in Lisbon that was held in December.

The European Venture Contest is said to be the only pan-European competition with an exclusive focus on top technology ventures showing "the ambition and potential to reshape their industry and conquer the international market".

Previous spin-outs of the ORC that are also focused on III-V technology include Modulight, which makes a variety of laser components for telecom, datacom and industrial applications, and Tutcore, a key part of the broad-based US laser company Coherent.

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