Eager to boost its market share of low-noise, high-power helium-cadmium lasers, Melles Griot has purchased Liconix of Santa Clara, Calif. With the acquisition, Melles Griot will consolidate its hold on the global market share of HeCd lasers, which are used for automated optical inspection, precision stereolithography, holography and research. According to Lisa Tsufura, marketing manager for Melles Griot's Laser Group based in Carlsbad, the acquisition allows it to offer customers a broader range of capabilities, specifically polarized and high-power lasers, and puts it in better position to compete with its main rivals in HeCd lasers. "We were primarily in stereolithography and they were in optical inspection. Each of us had our own area," Tsufura said. Liconix's portion of the HeCd laser market has been growing at about 10 to 15 percent annually, said Kenneth Ibbs, the company's vice president of sales and marketing. "Previously there were three companies in helium-cadmium, a Japanese company and two American companies beating up on each other," Ibbs said. "This puts the US helium-cadmium business on stronger footing than the Japanese helium-cadmium business. I think that's good for both companies." Prior to the acquisition, Liconix already had sold its diode-pumped solid-state laser line to newly formed DPSS Lasers Inc., located at the same Santa Clara facility. Ibbs noted that DPSS Lasers occupies a unique position in that market because it focuses only on short-wavelength solid-state technology. "Most laser companies are working on diode-pumped solid-state technology," Ibbs said. But DPSS Lasers is "already out of the gate with a very strong start in stereolithography and micromachining."