Raydiance secures $20 million of new funding for ultrafast laser platform

Dec. 3, 2008
New system delivers more than double the pulse energy, shorter pulse width and enhanced application software capabilities.

PETALUMA, California--Raydiance, a source of ultrafast light, has announced that it has secured $20 million in new funding that will allow the company to scale its infrastructure, further evolve its technology, and enhance its ability to address larger commercial markets.

Raydiance, led by former CEO of AOL Barry Schuler, also announced the launch of the new Raydiance Discovery 2.0 system, which delivers double the pulse energy of its first-generation ultrashort pulse, or "ultrafast," laser platform.

"Similar to the evolution of computing, Raydiance is pursuing a 'Moore's Law'-like path to develop and bring to market ultrafast lasers that are cheaper, smaller and more powerful with each generation," said Raydiance co-founder and President Scott Davison.

"The introduction of the Raydiance Discovery 2.0 system, combined with our recently-secured round of funding, not only validates this vision, but also will enable the development of even more game-changing applications powered by Raydiance across a broader range of industries."

During the past two years, Raydiance customers have been developing next-generation applications in ophthalmology, dermatology, gene transfection, surgery, and homeland security and defense. The introduction of Raydiance Discovery 2.0 significantly expands Raydiance's market opportunities, most notably in the machining of advanced vascular stents and thin film solar cell production.

Early next year, several new products powered by Raydiance that have the potential to disrupt these and other industries are expected to begin entering the marketplace.

Raydiance has secured $20 million in a new "Series D" round of financing led by Greenstreet Partners and joined by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which provided the initial stage of funding for the company.

"Greenstreet Partners invests in companies like Raydiance that are not only leaders in their industry, but also have the potential to revolutionize the way we live," said Ambassador Steven Green, founding partner of Greenstreet Partners.

"Raydiance has clearly made great strides in harnessing the transformative power of ultrafast light, and we are confident this company has the vision, leadership and the cutting-edge technology necessary to help solve some of the most pressing global challenges of our time."

Said Davidson: "After four successful years of developing the Raydiance ultrafast laser platform, bringing the technology to market and establishing a solid client base, this new round of funding will allow us to execute fully on our next stage of growth and development."

Previously, Raydiance secured more than $25 million in venture capital financing and $10 million in government funded R&D contracts, which enabled the launch of its first commercial product in 2007. Raydiance has reserved an additional $5 million to raise from a strategic investor.

By integrating photonics, computing, and telecommunications fiber optic technologies into an intelligent programming architecture, Raydiance aims to make the power and precision of ultrafast lasers affordable and practical for the development of new, revolutionary applications.

The new Raydiance Discovery 2.0 system introduces performance metrics, including higher pulse energy and a shorter pulse that, together, result in dramatically increased peak power (10 Megawatts).

Discovery 2.0 retains the same compact, reliable and easy-to-use software controls as its predecessor, while offering new, extensive software capabilities that allow for seamless systems integration into any commercial environment, whether a physician's office or manufacturing floor.

The system's design also makes it capable of remote updates, system diagnostics and service. The Raydiance Discovery 2.0 can be installed in 30 minutes in rooms with a standard electrical outlet.

"Since launching our first ultrafast laser platform eighteen months ago, Raydiance has been committed to constantly evolving each generation of this system while ensuring that customers have unencumbered access to our newest technology," said Davison. "To date, we've seen incredible progress made by our customers and research partners, and we look forward to seeing the new products and services that will be enabled and powered by our breakthrough Discovery 2.0 product."

Ultrafast lasers interact with matter in a way that is fundamentally different from other lasers, providing the capability to cut materials without generating heat. This is commonly referred to as "cold," or athermal, ablation.

When deployed at lower, nonablative energy levels, ultrafast light can create molecular and cellular phenomena with broad implications for genomics, materials science and medical treatments.

With Discovery 2.0:

* Higher pulse energy makes it possible to machine a broader range of materials to greater depths and at much greater throughput rates. Higher throughput rates enable a number of fast growth applications such as thin film solar cell manufacturing.

* Shorter pulse width allows users to achieve "cold" ablation with larger volumes of material, impacting both the quality and speed of processing. For example, drug-eluting or biodegradable vascular stents--materials sensitive to thermal damage--can be readily machined to very precise dimensions.

* The enhanced software system makes it possible to easily integrate ultrafast laser technology with third party applications programs such as LabVIEW, or computer numerical control systems.

Key features of Raydiance Discovery 2.0 include:

* Automated, "hands off" control of the system with its RayOS operating system

* "Plug-and-play" platform operated by a LabVIEW-based graphical interface, which gives users variable control over key laser parameters, including pulse energy, repetition rate, and a variety of pulse triggering and pulse packet options

* Small size and scalable architecture designed for commercialization

* User-controlled pulse energy from 0.5 to 10 microjoules per pulse

* User-controlled repetition rate from single shot to 300 kHz

* Pulse width of 800 femtoseconds (typical)

* Beam quality: M² < 1.3 and pulse to pulse energy variation < 2%

* Programmable triggering and pulse packet macros

* "Cold," or athermal, ablation with micron-precision of virtually any material, remote materials detection and identification, nondestructive molecular modification, and a variety of imaging techniques

* Simple integration into CNC production environments and other third party C++ and LabVIEW-based applications.

* Highly reliable optical telecom components to insure 24/7 operational performance

* Warm up time of less than five minutes

* Ability to operate over a wide range of environmental conditions

For more information, visit Raydiance.

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