Feb. 1, 2007
First Solar (Phoenix, AZ) raised $400 million in its initial public offering (IPO) of 20 million shares of common stock at $20 per share.

Solar IPOs continue

First Solar (Phoenix, AZ) raised $400 million in its initial public offering (IPO) of 20 million shares of common stock at $20 per share. The company will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol FSLR.

First Solar has integrated thin-film semiconductor technology with automated production to manufacture solar modules that the company says are among the lowest cost in the world. First Solar seeks to enable solar electricity to achieve price parity with conventional energy, reducing fossil-fuel dependence, greenhouse gas emissions, and peak-time grid constraints.

Heliatek to license Novaled solar technology

Novaled, manufacturer of organic light-emitting devices (OLEDs), and Heliatek, which manufactures organic-based photovoltaics (both in Dresden, Germany) have entered into a licensing agreement concerning the use of Novaled OLED technology for solar-cell applications. Under the agreement, Heliatek will develop organic solar cells using the power efficiency given by Novaled technologies and Novaled unique molecular dopants; both companies will cooperate on further developing the organic-based photovoltaic technologies. “Organic solar cells will become the new generation of solar cells,” said Harald Eggers, Heliatek CEO.

ISRA acquires Image Automation

Machine-vision-systems supplier ISRA Vision (Darmstadt, Germany) acquired the British optical-inspection-equipment company IAL and is at an advanced stage of negotiations to acquire IAL’s sister company in the U.S., Image Automation (Worthington, OH). With the acquisition, ISRA further expands its position as a market leader in the glass inspection market and its presence in the U.K. and Ireland. For the fiscal year 2006/2007 beginning Oct. 1, 2006, ISRA plans double-digit growth in turnover and profits.

Spectrum Detector debuts at Photonics West

Don Dooley, former founder of Scientific Spectrum (sold to ILC Technology) and Molectron Detector (acquired by Coherent in 2003 with continued operations in Portland, OR), has started a new detector company called Spectrum Detector (Lake Oswego, OR). The company will design and manufacture standard and custom radiometric detectors, electronics, and instruments based on thermal and photon detector technology for applications in research, medicine, process control, and optical radiometry. Its new product offerings, introduced at Photonics West, include optical-trap detectors, hybrid pyroelectric detectors, analog detector instruments, and USB-powered digital detector products.

Andor sees healthy imaging revenue

Imaging equipment and sensor maker Andor Technology (Belfast, Northern Ireland) announced preliminary financials for the year ended Sept. 30, 2006, including turnover up 22%, a 57% EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) increase, and that diluted earnings per share were up 79%, along with a healthy order book with more than $7.8 million in the pipeline. Other Andor highlights for the period included launch of its first global sales catalog to over 18,000 customers, opening of its first representative office in Beijing, China, and a 24% volume increase in camera manufacturing to 1500 units.

Micron reports imaging revenue increase

For its first quarter of fiscal 2007 ended Nov. 30, 2006, Micron Technology (Boise, ID) reported net sales of $1.58 billion compared to net sales of $1.37 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006.

The company’s revenue for imaging products in that period grew approximately 10% compared to the previous quarter. Sales of flash memory and CMOS image sensor products in the each represented approximately 15% of the company’s total sales.

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Also in the news . . .

Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester, NY) ended a long-time patent dispute with Sony (Tokyo, Japan) over digital-camera technology-the two companies have entered into a technology cross-license agreement that will allow each company broad access to the other’s patent portfolio. . . . Imaging sensors designed and manufactured by e2v (Chelmsford, England), were aboard the COROT space telescope, which launched in late December to examine star seismology and to search for extra-solar Earth-like planets. . . . The Department of Defense has named Rice University (Houston, TX) the recipient of a $3 million award for a five-year program to develop miniaturized molecular imaging technologies for screening, diagnosis, and monitoring of breast cancer. . . . Machine-vision software provider MVTec Software (Munich, Germany) opened MVTec in Cambridge, MA, to expand its North American presence. . . . Matrox Imaging (Dorval, QC, Canada) appointed CRI Jolanta (Gliwice, Poland) as its official distributor in Poland to sell its hardware and software components for industrial and scientific imaging applications.

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