GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- Sixteen photonics projects have won contracts valued at more than $54 million under the US Commerce Department's Advanced Technology Program. The projects cover several significant applications of photonics: communications, semiconductor manufacturing, laser machining, medicine and machine vision. The winning companies and projects include: * Caterpillar Inc. of Mossville, Ill., Bender Shipbuilding and Repair Co. Inc. of Mobile, Ala., Cutting Edge Optronics Inc. of St. Charles, Mo., GE Corporate Research & Development of Niskayuna, N.Y., and MTS Systems Corp. of Eden Prairie, Minn., $4.62 million for laser systems that can cut and weld thick-sectioned 3-D structures with low distortion and with little or no fixturing. * Energy Photovoltaics Inc. of Lawrenceville, N.J., $1.19 million for a sputtering source that can deposit thin-film materials onto large areas in difficult conditions for solar panels, plasma displays or other applications. * Etec Systems Inc. of Hayward, Calif., $2 million for 200-nm laser sources and compatible photolithography systems that can create wafer masks for semiconductor devices with features measuring 100 nm or less. * Evergreen Solar Inc. of Waltham, Mass., $2 million for a desktop apparatus for making inexpensive photovoltaic cells. * Fiberstars Inc. of Fremont, Calif., $2 million for a manufacturing process for very large core, continuously extruded optical fiber for lighting systems. * Genex Technologies Inc., of Kensington, Md., almost $2 million for a noncontact 3-D imaging system that would eliminate the need for dental impressions for crowns, caps and bridgework. * KLA-Tencor Corp. of San Jose, Calif., Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh and Tropel Corp. of Fairport, N.Y., $6.71 million for a UV-laser-based optical wafer inspection system that can detect microcircuit defects as small as 35 nm at speeds 18 times faster than current tools. * Mosaic Technologies of Waltham, Mass., $2 million for a high-throughput automated DNA sequencing system. * Motorola Inc., of Schaumburg, Ill., Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., and Xerox Corp. of Palo Alto, Calif., $7.67 million for organic materials and inexpensive processes for fabricating large-area electronic devices such as displays. * nLine Corp. of Austin, Texas, InterScience Inc. of Troy, N.Y., Light Age Inc. of Somerset, N.J., and PixelVision Inc. of Beaverton, Ore., $9.39 million for a UV laser and imaging system that can generate and analyze high-resolution holograms to detect small defects in tall, narrow semiconductor wafer features. * NP Photonics Inc. of Tucson, Ariz., nearly $2 million for hybrid monophase organic-inorganic glass-on-silicon integrated optical components and high-gain glass fiber amplifiers for communications networks. * OG Technologies Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich., almost $2 million for an imaging system to model and control deformation in forging and rolling ultrahot metals. * Optical Research Associates of Pasadena, Calif., $1.12 million for mathematical algorithms to simulate the optical behavior of photonic components. * Rainbow Displays Inc. of Endicott, N.Y., $2 million for seamlessly tiling silicon microdisplay chips into larger high-resolution, high-performance displays. * SpectraMet LLC of Bedford, Mass., nearly $2 million for a high-speed photonic system that can quickly and accurately sort nonferrous scrap metal for recycling. * SurroMed Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., and Quantum Dot Corp. of Hayward, Calif., $5.59 million for blood-analysis devices based on microvolume laser scanning cytometry and light-emitting nanocrystals. * For details on specific projects or for the list of all 54 projects announced last month, visit the program's Web site: www.atp.nist.gov.