Photonics business roundup: April 2022

May 1, 2022
Let’s recap all the photonics business news that was announced in April 2022.

For the most part, April 2022 saw the continued enthusiastic return to in-person conferences and exhibitions, most notably kicking off with SPIE Defense & Commercial Sensing (SPIE DCS) in Orlando, FL (April 3-7) and ending with LASER World of PHOTONICS in Munich, Germany (April 26-29). Otherwise, some significant photonics company investments made headlines, with positive implications for the exciting quantum space.

Funding, partnerships for quantum

Photonic integrated circuit (PIC) developer PhotonDelta (Eindhoven, Netherlands), which comprises 26 companies, 11 technology partners, and 12 R&D partners, secured 1.1 billion euros in public and private investment, 470 million euros of which come from the National Growth Fund of the Dutch government. The six-year funding program will help PhotonDelta reach its goal of creating an ecosystem with hundreds of companies and a wafer production capacity of 100,000+ per year by 2030, opening the door to a massive range of new applications, including quantum computing.

In the US, $25 million in federal funding announced by US Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer will spur a new phase in the existing partnership between semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries (Malta, NY) and quantum computing innovator PsiQuantum (Palo Alto, CA). The funding will expand research and development spearheaded out of the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, NY (Rome Lab) to manufacture and test photonic quantum computing technology, creating jobs, helping to attract and retain top scientific talent to Upstate New York, and making critical progress to compete with China to develop a quantum supercomputer, Schumer says.

Teledyne Princeton Instruments (Trenton, NJ) and Teledyne Photometrics (Tucson, AZ) are now an industrial partner in the Innovation Ecosystem of the Center for Quantum Networks (CQN; also in Tucson), a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. CQN is working to lay the technical and social foundations of the quantum internet, which will require coordination of the quantum states of particles serving as computational bits between quantum computers. Teledyne’s solutions, which include scientific CMOS, EMCCD, and InGaAs detectors, as well as a variety of high-resolution spectrographs and spectrometers, have been used to clarify quantum optical systems and develop the novel materials needed to connect networks of quantum computers.

LIGENTEC (Lausanne, Switzerland), which develops low-loss silicon nitride integrated photonics technology, has established a R&D center in Corbeil-Essonnes, France. The newly formed company, LIGENTEC France SAS, will primarily act as a R&D center to advance the companys base PIC technology as well as expand it with new functionalities, from design to wafer processing to characterization.

Acquisitions, expansions, other partnerships

Personalized medicine company Fagron (Rotterdam, Netherlands) has acquired Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) spinoff HiperScan (Dresden, Germany), which provides near-infrared spectroscopy technology for raw material identification in pharmacies. Its Apo-Ident analysis system is specially designed for the identification of raw materials and is already used in over 5500 pharmacies.

Photonics components distributor Laser Components USA (Bedford, NH) has added Micro-Hybrid (Hermsdorf, Germany) to help expand its infrared (IR) component portfolio in the American market. The distribution partnership will enable both companies to offer a wider choice in IR products.

In response to global supply chain issues, optical solutions provider Navitar (Rochester, NY) has increased its production capacity with major building upgrades. It constructed a brand-new shop housing a Haas VF4-SS super speed vertical machining center and ST-20 y-axis lathe to produce prototypes and specialty parts for custom assemblies with quicker turnaround. The company also expanded its modulation-transfer-function (MTF) testing capabilities with a new OpTest lens measurement system from Optikos, and upgraded its interferometric testing facilities and doubled the number of precision alignment stations housed in its Class 10,000 clean room.

Civan Lasers (Jerusalem, Israel) has delivered an OPA 6 dynamic beam laser (DBL) to the Institut für Strahlwerkzeuge (IFSW) at the University of Stuttgart (Germany). IFSW researchers will study Civan’s disruptive DBL technology using its high-speed x-ray video facility for laser materials-processing diagnostics. The system will allow researchers to view inside the melt pool during laser welding processes, further investigating the opportunities of using DBL technology to improve keyhole stability in industrial welding applications.

Snijlab (Rotterdam, Netherlands) has partnered with laser manufacturer Luxinar (Kingston upon Hull, UK) to provide engineers and creative entrepreneurs with a simple and accessible online cutting service for their production parts. An SR 15i CO2 laser source from Luxinar is integrated into Snijlab’s fully automatic system to cut and mark a variety of plastic and wooden parts.

Awards and people news

Optical thin-film coatings maker Artemis Optical (Plymouth, UK) is one of 226 organizations nationally to be recognized with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise; specifically, Artemis has been honored for its excellence in International Trade. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards Emblem for the next five years.

Photonics solutions provider MKS Instruments (Andover, MA) announced that its MKS Optical Sensing Products business (formerly Photon Control; Burnaby, BC, Canada) has earned a 2022 Supplier Excellence Award from Applied Materials, which provides materials engineering solutions used to produce chips and advanced displays. Applied’s Supplier Excellence Awards recognize the company’s top-performing suppliers for outstanding technical and operational achievements in several areas, including quality, service, lead time, delivery, cost, and responsiveness. This year, the MKS Optical Sensing Products business received the award for Best-In-Class Performance.

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) toured PFG Precision Optics (Ocean Springs, MS) to see the companys operations. During the visit, Senator Wicker and his wife Gayle met with technicians, engineers, and management to learn about the manufacturing of high-precision optical components, which the company provides to the defense, semiconductor, and medical industries as well as to scientists at universities and national laboratories around the country.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF; Alexandria, VA), in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO; also in Alexandria), will honor laser dermatology pioneer Dr. R. Rox Anderson as one of its inductees at The Greatest Celebration of American Innovation event, to take place on May 5, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Nathalie Picqué, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany), has received a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant for exploring a new concept of precision measurements with frequency combs. The five-year grant totaling 2.5 million euros will enable development of a spectrometer that will simultaneously achieve broad spectral coverage, Doppler-free resolution, and extreme accuracy for precise studies of small molecules, with implications for studying highly nonlinear phenomena in strong-field and attosecond physics.

Financial news, orders

Laser cleaning and blasting provider Laser Photonics (Orlando, FL) filed an annual report on Form 10K with the SEC, highlighting its financial results for the year ending December 31, 2021. The company reported 100% revenue growth in 2021 in comparison with the previous year, validating application of the company’s technology not only in North America, but in Japan, Mexico, South America, and Australia, says Wayne Tupuola, president of Laser Photonics. He adds that the company has also had significant response from major branches of the US government and defense industry.

Bold Laser Automation (Bedford, NH) has shipped an LPM2424 laser precision micromachining platform to serve as a production testbed to manufacture next-generation sustainable energy products. And, in 2021 and the early months of 2022, the company shipped several of its LPW laser precision welding tools for e-mobility and sustainable energy applications to sites in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Denton Vacuum (Moorestown, NJ) has received a new system order for encapsulation from a North American OLED display manufacturer. The system is based on the Discovery sputtering platform using the companys Inverted Cylindrical Magnetron (ICM) architecture. The system provides dense, optically clear films with less than 0.5% nonuniformity on 200 mm wafers.

ClassOne Technology (Kalispell, MT), which provides advanced electroplating and wet processing tools for microelectronics manufacturing, has shipped a Solstice S4 single-wafer plating system to microLED startup Raxium (Fremont, CA) for development and manufacture of microLED displays. Raxium’s monolithic RGB microLED technology is specifically designed for applications such as augmented- and virtual-reality (AR/VR) systems.

Would you like to be included in the May 2022 photonics business roundup? Contact me!

About the Author

Lee Dubay | Managing Editor

Lee Dubay is managing editor for Laser Focus World. She is a seasoned editor and content manager with 20 years of experience in B2B media. She specializes in digital/print content management, as well as website analytics, SEO, and social media engagement best practices. 

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