M-Squared Lasers, Scotland's fastest-growing technology business according to a recent UK-wide survey, is to lead collaborative research into novel laser technology conceived at the University of Dundee.

The Glasgow-based group will lead a European team granted £1.2 million to resolve the key problems associated with solid-state lasers using conical refraction. The two-year HiCORE project, conceived from research in the photonics and nanoscience group at Dundee, will potentially lead to a new stream of world-class laser products for use in a broad spectrum of applications, including industrial laser welding.

The work will strengthen the EU's leading position in the photonics sector and support the ongoing growth of M-Squared and partners based in Spain, Switzerland and Bulgaria.

It is funded by the European Commission's FP7 programme, aimed at boosting the innovation capacity of European SMEs and their contribution to the development of new technology-based products and markets.

M-Squared develops and manufactures next-generation lasers and photonic instruments that bring technology upgrades to a diverse range of industrial and scientific applications.

Conical refraction lasers offer a novel way to achieve high laser efficiency, mitigate thermal management issues, and improve beam quality, while reducing cost, complexity and size.

Dr Graeme Malcolm, chief executive at of M-Squared, said: "The HiCORE project is envisaged to develop leading new high-power laser technology which will enable M-Squared to offer products with performance beyond anything available in today's market."

Professor Edik Rafailov, leader of the photonics and nanoscience group at the University of Dundee, said: "Ongoing close relationships with innovative companies such as M-Squared enable the university to translate the research results obtained in the lab into real world products."