Petaluma laser startup Raydiance has raised $3.8 million in fresh venture capital and named a new chief executive, tech veteran Dick Pierce.

Raydiance will target its technology at the high-tech manufacturing sector, Pierce said Tuesday.

"Manufacturing is our sweet spot," he said. "There's a great opportunity for us to expand in terms of sales and marketing."

Pierce is former CEO of Orbital Data, which delivered software applications over computer networks. Orbital became part of Citrix Systems in 2006.

Previously, Pierce was an executive at Intel and Inktomi.

He succeeds company founder Barry Schuler as Raydiance chief executive officer. Schuler, former chairman and CEO of America Online, will remain the startup's chairman.

Raydiance has developed a high-power, ultra-fast laser platform that vaporizes matter without generating heat, creating new ways to fashion exotic materials.

The company currently is shipping its Smart Light laser systems to medical device companies developing next-generation bioabsorbable stents. Such polymer-based stents could replace metal stents that doctors implant in heart patients' clogged arteries to keep their blood flowing.

"Ultrafast lasers represent a disruptive technology that will change the way people design and build things," Pierce said.

The technology also has applications for consumer electronics, semiconductors, automotive, clean energy, research, medical treatments and defense, the company said.

Raydiance began in 2003 as a Defense Department research project at the University of Central Florida. It moved to Petaluma in 2006.

Raydiance reduced the bulky lasers to desktop size and created user-friendly software controls.

So far, the startup has raised more than $50 million in venture capital. The source of its latest funding wasn't disclosed, but previous investors included Greenstreet Partners and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

It has about 40 employees at its Petaluma headquarters but could grow to 65 or 70 by the end of the year, Pierce said.

Raydiance has attracted some other big-name backers, including former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley and former U.S. Ambassador Robert Gelbard, who both serve on the startup's board.