Jenoptik officially opens new production facility for high-power semiconductor lasers in Berlin

(PresseBox) ( Jena/Berlin, )
This Thursday Jenoptik's Lasers & Material Processing division is opening its production facility for high-quality semiconductor lasers in Berlin. These form the basis for high-power diode lasers which are used as efficient tools, particularly in industrial materials processing and medical technology worldwide.

With more than 100 guests from the world of politics, science and business, together with the local workforce, Jenoptik officially opened its new production in the Berlin-Adlershof Technology Park on August 30, 2012. The investment of approx. 10 million euros is the largest to date by the optoelectronics group after the production facility for energy systems at the Altenstadt site (Bavaria) was modernized and expanded in 2011.

The expanded production facility in Berlin is equipped with state-of-the-art production technology and will start operations at the beginning of 2013. At the Berlin-Adlershof site Jenoptik develops and manufactures semiconductor lasers, so-called laser bars, which are used as base material for high-power diode lasers. The expansion will enable Jenoptik to meet the strong growth in demand particularly from Asia, and as a quality leader in the market, to live up to the high level of customer satisfaction. The production capacities will be more than doubled.

"By making this investment we are expanding our position as a global leader in this market segment," said Jenoptik Chairman Michael Mertin. "In this context we are not only increasing our production capacity but also investing in the latest available technology." Semiconductor laser technology has already been firmly anchored within the Jenoptik Group for the past ten years and shows an impressive track record of growth: sales with the base material for high-power diode lasers have tripled since 2006. "Even though we are currently decisively forging ahead with the process of internationalization within the Jenoptik Group, with the focus on America and Asia, Germany is and remains a high-tech production site for our customers throughout the world," said the Jenoptik Chairman. Jenoptik plans to invest a total of approx. 35 million euros in 2012.

The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, also welcomed Jenoptik's investment in the capital. "The expanded Jenoptik representative office strengthens the industrial base of Berlin. In close cooperation with research and science, Jenoptik is investing in key future trends in laser technology at this site. This investment is an excellent example of the attractiveness of the Science and Technology Park Berlin-Adlershof as well as of Germany's role as a high-tech equipment supplier to the world."

Jenoptik's modern production facility in Berlin-Adlershof was built during the years 2005/2006. Since 2005, including the current expansion, Jenoptik has invested more than 25 million euros in state-of-the-art production environments here at the Berlin-Adlershof site. The current expansion has increased the size of the facility from the original 2,000 to 3,400 square meters today, with clean room facilities making up almost 1,000 square meters. The entire process line covering epitaxy, wafer processing and facet coating has been installed in the clean rooms - the new areas have been added on to the existing clean rooms - in order to manufacture semiconductor lasers. Wafers are structured and processed to laser bars in a process which is typical for semiconductor manufacturing. These laser bars from the production plant at the Berlin site are supplied to customers throughout the world, and at Jenoptik's site in Jena they are processed to make high-power diode lasers and integrated into other laser systems.

High-efficiency diode lasers in industry and medical technology.

Diode lasers are artificial light sources which create maximum electro-optical efficiency. They convert up to 70 percent of the supplied electrical energy into light. As a comparison, the efficiency of a conventional bulb is approx. five percent, that of an energy savings lamp up to 25 percent. In addition, diode lasers are very compact and sturdy, making them easy to integrate into laser systems. In the development and production of the lasers Jenoptik also attaches key importance to a long lifetime, excellent beam quality and high output power and simultaneously an efficient mass production. As emphasized by Jenoptik Chairman Michael Mertin: "We not only expect our diodes to reflect but to also set key trends on the laser market such as 'diode direct'." They are an enabler for modern laser technologies such as disk and fiber lasers which already show high growth rates today.

The demand for high-power diode lasers from Jenoptik has risen sharply over recent years as a result of new laser applications and the high quality that Jenoptik delivers to customers worldwide. In the area of industrial laser materials processing, diode lasers are used as a high-efficiency pumping source for solid-state and fiber lasers or increasingly as a direct application ("diode direct"), amongst other things for soldering and hardening of metals as well as for welding plastics. According to the trade magazine Laser Focus World, global sales of lasers used for industrial applications totaled nearly 2 billion US dollars in 2011, nearly one fifth more than in 2010.

The areas of medical technology and esthetics also offer numerous potential uses for high-power diode lasers and diode-pumped solid-state lasers. The lasers are used for example in ophthalmology and dentistry, surgery as well as for hair removal. According to Laser Focus World global sales of medical lasers last year reached 498 million US dollars; sales for 2012 are expected to grow to approx. 518 million US dollars.

Jenoptik at the Berlin site.

The Berlin-Adlershof site is part of the Jenoptik Lasers & Material Processing division. Jenoptik has had its own production facility at the Berlin-Adlershof Science and Technology Park since 2006. The key feature here is the immediate vicinity to the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik (FBH) [Institute for Ultra High Frequency]. Jenoptik has been working very closely together with the institute for many years, particularly in the development of the optoelectronic base material for diode lasers. This collaboration led to the creation of the Jenoptik Diode Lab in 2002. The company is an example of the successful technology transfer between science and industry. The collaboration arrangement won the "WissensWerte" Transfer Prize 2012 award in March this year, which was endowed with 50,000 euros from the Förderverein Technologiestiftung Berlin e.V. for the development of highly efficient diode lasers.

In 2008 Jenoptik acquired the Berlin-based company Three-Five Epitaxial Services Aktiengesellschaft (TESAG) - also a spin-off of the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut - expanding its area of expertise through the addition of epitaxial wafer manufacturing. After the production facility in Berlin had reached the limit of its capacity the foundation stone for the expansion of the facility was laid in December 2011. Jenoptik currently employs nearly 80 personnel in Berlin, mainly in the Lasers & Material Processing division in Adlershof and the Optical Systems division in Wuhlheide.

Milestones of Jenoptik's presence in Berlin-Adlershof.

2002: Jenoptik Diode Lab formed as a spin-off from the FBH
2006: Official opening of the high-tech plant for semiconductor laser production
2008: Acquisition of the wafer manufacturer Three-Five Epitaxial Services Aktiengesellschaft (TESAG)
2011: Laying of the foundation stone for the plant expansion in December
2012: Official opening of the plant expansion
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