The US Commerce Department's Bureau of Export Administration has fined laser manufacturer Coherent Inc. $20,000 for illegally exporting two laser components to a company that is affiliated with India's Atomic Energy Department. The problem stemmed from an earlier sale of complete laser systems to the company, before the Com-merce Department enacted the weapons-control initiative in 1989, requiring licenses to export to companies involved in India's atomic research. The department had sent a letter to Coherent, based in Santa Clara, Calif., warning that future sales would require licenses. In 1995, when the Indian company ordered replacement parts -- two plasma tubes used in argon-ion lasers -- Coherent shipped them. Scott Miller, general counsel for Coherent, said that its regulatory affairs department misconstrued the warning letter and that an "unfortunate mistake" had occurred. The fines levied against Coherent represent less than the maximum amount for each violation, he said.