March 1, 2008
Princeton Lightwave (PLI; Cranbury, NJ), manufacturer of optical semiconductor components and subsystems, was awarded a two-year, $3.5 million contract for the development of focal plane arrays (FPAs) with single-photon sensitivity for use in three-dimensional (3-D) imaging systems.

FPA contract goes to Princeton Lightwave

Princeton Lightwave (PLI; Cranbury, NJ), manufacturer of optical semiconductor components and subsystems, was awarded a two-year, $3.5 million contract for the development of focal plane arrays (FPAs) with single-photon sensitivity for use in three-dimensional (3-D) imaging systems. For this program, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, PLI will develop FPA modules which use indium-phosphide-based Geiger-mode avalanche photodiodes to achieve single-photon sensitivity and perform time-of-flight ranging measurements on a per-pixel basis. These modules are intended for use as the optical engines at the core of 3-D imaging flash laser detection and ranging systems.

iRobot ground vehicles in demand

iRobot (Burlington, MA) announced that the U.S. Army accelerated its testing schedules for iRobot’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) robot-development program. The updated plan calls for iRobot to deliver a total of 25 FCS SUGV robots by April 2008. The FCS SUGV is a tactical reconnaissance robot designed to assist soldiers in obtaining intelligence in dangerous or otherwise inaccessible areas.

iRobot will use laser detection and ranging technology from Advanced Scientific Concepts (ASC) of California in its future designs, and is currently under contract agreement to develop the next-generation SUGV for the FCS program with Science Applications International.

Tessera to acquire FotoNation

For $29 million in net cash with up to $10 million of additional consideration, Tessera Technologies (San Jose, CA) entered into a definitive agreement to acquire FotoNation, a provider of embedded imaging solutions for digital still camera and mobile phone applications. “FotoNation’s solutions are a perfect complement to Tessera’s image-enhancement technologies and the combined strengths of our two companies will help drive the proliferation of digital still camera functionality in mobile camera devices,” said Bruce McWilliams, CEO of Tessera. “With this acquisition, Tessera will further expand its broad portfolio of integrated consumer optics solutions, and be positioned to become a ‘one-stop shop’ for a full range of camera imaging technologies.”

Durham leads U.K. photovoltaic project

A team of scientists led by experts at Durham University (Durham, England) are embarking on a $12.4 million PV-21 program focusing on making thin-film light-absorbing cells for solar panels from sustainable and affordable materials. The four-year project, which begins in April 2008, is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under the SUPERGEN initiative. Eight U.K. universities, including Bangor, Bath, Cranfield, Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Northumbria, and Southampton, are involved in the project.

DRS receives $18 million IR detector contract

The Infrared Technologies Division (Dallas, TX) of DRS Technologies (Parsippany, NJ) received an $18 million contract from Raytheon Missile Systems (Tucson, AZ) to produce infrared detector, Dewar cooler sensor assemblies for the Javelin Antitank Weapon Systems’ Command Launch Unit (CLU). The Javelin is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, antitank missile.

DRS Technologies also received a $9 million contract from the Raytheon Company’s Network Centric Systems business in McKinney, TX, to provide components and assemblies within Horizontal Technology Integration Second Generation Forward Looking Infrared (HTI SGF) sighting systems used aboard U.S. Army tanks and combat vehicles. The work will be done by the company’s DRS Sensors & Targeting Systems – Optronics Division in Palm Bay and Melbourne, FL.

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Also in the news . . .

The Leica Geosystems (Norcross, GA) “Geomatics Center of Excellence” opened in Houston, TX, to offer sales, support, and service for its surveying, laser scanning products, and reference-station network infrastructures for spatial mapping and imaging. . . . Swiss-based Paul Scherrer Institute selected Zecotek Photonics’ (Vancouver, BC, Canada) proprietary micropixel avalanche photodiodes for trials in its next-generation positron emission tomography medical-imaging program. . . . Schott Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Schott (Mainz, Germany), has selected Albuquerque, NM, as the site for a new solar-energy facility that will manufacture receivers for concentrated-solar thermal power plants and 64 MW of photovoltaic modules. . . . BAE Systems (Nashua, NH) received a $29 million award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to test an IR aircraft missile-defense system on passenger aircraft. . . . Opto Engineering (Mantova, Italy), a leading manufacturer of telecentric lenses and optical components for machine vision, announces MaxxVision as its exclusive distributor for Germany.

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