Quintessence Photonics Corp. announced today it has won a contract from the US government to develop high-power mid-infrared lasers. The Phase III award is a follow-on to a previous contract funded by the US Army to deliver semiconductor lasers that emit light in the mid-infrared wavelength; the amount of the contract was not disclosed. Low-cost, high-power mid-infrared lasers have a variety of defense and homeland security applications, including protection of aircraft, ships and armored vehicles from heat-seeking missiles and standoff detection of chemical weapons. Free-space optical communications and imaging on the battlefield benefit from mid-infrared sources since, unlike visible and near-infrared wavelengths, communications at mid-infrared wavelengths are relatively immune to fog, smoke and solar background impairments, the company said. Quintessence Photonics, a subsidiary of QPC Lasers Inc., is a manufacturer of high-brightness, high-power semiconductor lasers and is based in Sylmar, Calif.