Novalux, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, Calif., has developed a high-power laser diode that it claims is a breakthrough technology for optical telecommunications. The device, which has been dubbed Necsel, for Novalux extended-cavity surface-emitting laser, reportedly yields 300 to 500 mW of nonastigmatic light. "For most applications, semiconductor lasers have been glorified lightbulbs," said Aram Mooradian, the company's founder and the laser's designer. "Many labs, including the defense labs, have tried unsuccessfully to extract a circular, Gaussian beam at high power. We have done it." Mooradian said that the researchers have not described the laser in peer-review journals in an attempt to discourage potential competitors. He expects that the project will produce a 980-nm amplifier pump by the end of the year.