Photonics business roundup: June 2022

July 1, 2022
It’s time to recap all the photonics business news that was announced in June 2022.

Summer is officially here and, despite the shift to relaxation mode that summer brings for many, photonics business announcements still flowed in at the pace they always do. However, this month’s installment in the Photonics Business Roundup series begins on a sad note:

The biophotonics/bioengineering community has lost a prominent contributor. Devastating news broke that Dr. Gabriel Popescu, the William L. Everitt Distinguished Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), passed away on June 16th while he was visiting his hometown of Prundu, Romania. Popescu, who had been with UIUC since 2007, had focused his work on transforming biomedicine into a quantitative science through advances and innovations in optic science and label-free microscopy. Of note, he enabled quantitative measurements of the phase of light to pass through biological structures, providing previously inaccessible biological information without using dyes or stains.

Acquisitions

II‐VI Incorporated (Saxonburg, PA) has obtained antitrust clearance from the State Administration for Market Regulation of the People’s Republic of China (SAMR) for II-VI’s pending acquisition of Coherent (Santa Clara, CA). The clearance decision from SAMR satisfies the closing condition set forth in the previously announced merger agreement regarding the receipt of antitrust approvals. II-VI expects the closing of its acquisition of Coherent to occur on or about July 1st.

Photonic-crystal fibers and advanced fiber lasers specialist NKT Photonics (Birkerød, Denmark) will become part of Hamamatsu Photonics (Japan), a provider of optical sensors, electric light sources, and other optical devices and instruments for scientific, technical, and medical use. NKT Photonics' product offerings will augment Hamamatsu's detector and light-source portfolio. Under the terms of the acquisition, NKT Photonics will continue as a subsidiary with responsibility for fiber and laser development and manufacturing, and the transaction is expected to close by the end of March 2023.

Zebra Technologies (Lincolnshire, IL) has completed its acquisition of Matrox Imaging (Matrox Electronic Systems; Dorval, QC, Canada), which develops advanced machine vision components, software, and systems. This acquisition further expands Zebra’s offerings in the fast-growing automation and vision technology solution space following the launch of its fixed industrial scanning and machine vision portfolio and recent acquisitions of Adaptive Vision and Fetch Robotics. (The definitive purchase agreement between the two companies was previously announced in March 2022.)

Awards, funding, and orders

Laser micromachining and roll-to-roll laser systems maker 3D-Micromac (Chemnitz, Germany) has received a multi-system order for its microCELL MCS high-throughput laser cutting solution to support Enel Green Power’s TANGO 3-Gigawatt (GW) solar plant expansion project at its 3Sun Gigafactory in Catania, Sicily—set to become Europe’s largest factory producing high-performance bifacial photovoltaic modules. The microCELL MCS systems were purchased by Bottero S.p.A., a specialist in glass processing technologies serving as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the expansion project and will be used in Enel’s 3Sun Gigafactory for cutting high-efficiency heterojunction solar cells

Denton Vacuum (Moorestown, NJ) has won a new system order for semiconductor laser facet coating from a leading laser manufacturer. The Infinity Biased Target Sputtering system utilizes Denton's patented bias target technology to provide dense, low-contamination optical films possible among all Physical Vapor Deposition methods, for best laser damage threshold performance.

Ledtech (Taiwan) has selected ams OSRAM's OSLON UV 3636 UV-C LEDs, which offer a more sustainable alternative to the traditional lamps used to produce UV-C at low cost, to provide a sanitization function in its new BioLED intelligent air purifier. The OSLON UV 3636 LEDs used in the BioLED can inactivate up to 99.99% of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, at a dosing rate of 3.6 mJ/cm2.

Scintil Photonics (Grenoble, France), which supplies advanced silicon photonic integrated circuits with monolithically integrated lasers and optical amplifiers, has secured €13.5 million ($14.4 million) in second round funding. Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC) led the round, with historic shareholders Supernova Invest, Innovacom and Bpifrance, through its Digital Venture fund, reinvesting to bring the company’s total funding to €17.5 million ($18.8 million), to date. The company will use the funds to take its industrialization program to the next level and speed up the global commercialization of its products that boost communications in data centers, High-Performance Computing (HPC), and 5G networks.

LED illumination solutions maker Smart Vision Lights (SVL; Norton Shores, MI) has received patent number US 11,328,380 B2 for its DoAll Light machine vision light. The DoAll Light combines a dome light, two angles of dark field illumination, NIR and RGBW ring lights, and a four-quadrant multispectral ring light in a single unit; it is particularly useful for robotic and other flexible automation systems. The patent is the latest addition to the company's portfolio of patented machine vision-related illumination technology.

Infrared (IR) detector products from VIGO Photonics (St. Petersburg, FL) have been selected to monitor critical environmental systems on board NASA's Orion spacecraft. The IR detectors will be used in NASA's spectrometer instrument, the Laser Air Monitor System (LAMS) crew habitable environment on board NASA's Orion spacecraft. LAMS was built by NASA to measure the concentration of CO2, H2O, and O2 in both the cabin and suit environments. VIGO conducted qualification tests for space environments, on standard detector products in their catalog to address the challenging launch requirements.

Collaborations

ClassOne Technology (Kalispell, MT) is partnering with the Fraunhofer Institute for Electro Nano Systems (Fraunhofer ENAS; Chemnitz, Germany) on hybrid bonding techniques for heterogeneous integration of high-density pixel arrays. The two partners will develop, optimize, and integrate individual unit process steps involved in hybrid bonding of high-density pixel arrays and CMOS devices, enabling creation of thin, compact final devices for advanced imaging or sensing end products. Fraunhofer ENAS will lend its expertise in pixel array development, hybrid bonding, and the entire device integration scheme. ClassOne Technology will optimize its plating technology with chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP) to mitigate associated process challenges, resulting in a final wafer optimally conditioned for high-yield bonding. The goal of the joint effort is to construct a scalable process that speeds the pixel array die transfer onto the backplane wafer.

Siemens (Charlotte, NC) has engaged in early-stage research and development projects with multiple partners including National Laboratories. The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a pioneering institution focusing on manufacturing analysis and simulation, materials development, large-scale metal additive manufacturing systems, robotics, and automation. The collaboration between Siemens and ORNL on multiple DOE-funded projects has enabled the cooperative investigation of multiple methods of advanced manufacturing and materials solutions.

Facility openings

Integrated coherent optics solutions developer EFFECT Photonics (Eindhoven, Netherlands) has opened its Americas headquarters in Maynard, MA to provide further support for North and South American customers and partners, as well as for global customers with operations in the region. The Maynard facility expands the company’s engineering, product testing and verification, customer support, and marketing capacity to complement its European and Asia Pacific teams. It includes engineering design space, an application laboratory, demo space, and office space.

Laser manufacturer Luxinar (Kingston upon Hull, U.K.) has officially opened its U.S. office in Shelby Township, MI (a suburb of Detroit). John Podwojski, regional general manager and Dan McArthur, technical support manager, are heading the new U.S. location, and welcomed guests to its opening on June 22nd. Luxinar USA offers sales and technical support, demonstrations of local application capabilities to potential and existing customers, and a warehouse of strategic stock for exchange purposes throughout the U.S.

People in the news

ALIO Industries (Arvada, CO; an Allied Motion company), which provides nanometer-level motion control solutions, has appointed Peter Lehner as director of sales and marketing. He previously served as head of sales for motion & sensing at attocube systems AG (Germany), so he brings solid knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in the precision positioning market to his new role.

Lumicell (Newton, MA), which focuses on fluorescence-guided imaging technologies for cancer surgery, is building a commercial team to prepare for market launch of the Lumicell Direct Visualization System (DVS), which includes its LUMISIGHT optical imaging agent, upon U.S. FDA approval. The company appointed industry veterans Brent Palmisano as chief commercial officer and Lauren Cohen as vice president of marketing and communications.

SPIE—the International Society for Optics and Photonics (Bellingham, WA) has nominated Peter de Groot, chief scientist at optical metrology specialist Zygo Corporation (Middlefield, CT), as a candidate for its 2023 vice president. The newly elected vice president will serve as president-elect in 2024 and president of the Society in 2025. de Groot currently serves the SPIE as Chair of the Symposia Committee, member of the Financial Advisory and Strategic Planning Committees, advisor to the Board of Directors, associate editor of Optical Engineering, professional short course instructor, author, and conference organizer. The election results will be announced in August at the Annual General Meeting of the Society in San Diego.

4D imaging radar technology developer Vayyar Imaging (Tel Aviv, Israel) has named Tomo Taguchi, the former president of Texas Instruments Japan, on joining Vayyar to head up the company’s new entity, Vayyar Imaging Japan LLC (Tokyo). With decades of experience in the semiconductor industry and deep knowledge of the Japanese technology sector, Taguchi’s focus will be on accelerating the company’s engagements with leading automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, while progressing its expansion in the senior care space, as well as other verticals in the future.

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About the Author

Lee Dubay | Managing Editor

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

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