In the latest in a string of acquisitions, Uniphase Corp. has opened a European semiconductor laser fabrication plant. Uniphase Laser Enterprise will increase the company's production of 980-nm diode lasers substantially. This type of diode laser is a crucial component in erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, which increase the speed and message-carrying capacity in today's fiber optic networks. Uniphase invested more than $20 million to construct the 6000-square-meter high-capacity diode laser factory in the Binz industrial district. Formerly part of IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory, the plant will produce more than 100,000 laser diode chips annually. The new location provides more cleanroom capacity to develop high-power chips -- about 300 mW. These diode lasers are suitable for submarine cable and other underwater applications. Kevin Kalkoven, Uniphase chairman and CEO, said the facility will enable the firm to keep up with the demand for fiber optic components and modules in the communications industry. The opening of the facility follows on the heels of Uniphase's acquisition of Indx Pty. Ltd. last November. The Australia-based division produces fiber components for high-speed wavelength division multiplexing.