Fiberoptics Industry Report

Aug. 1, 2005
The fiberoptics unit of Schott (Mainz, Germany) and Zett Optics (Braunschweig, Germany) announced a joint venture to develop fiberoptic light sources and light-source modules for a variety of applications.

Joint venture to develop fiberoptic lighting

The fiberoptics unit of Schott (Mainz, Germany) and Zett Optics (Braunschweig, Germany) announced a joint venture to develop fiberoptic light sources and light-source modules for a variety of applications.

Schott will be responsible for flexible fiberoptic light guiding and application, and Zett will be responsible for selecting a light source to integrate into the fibers. Work will be performed at Zett Optics, a developer of light, LED, and medical-technology and plastic optics. The resulting products will marketed under the Schott brand name.

Schott’s fiberoptics business unit makes products such as fibers for the illumination of operating microscopes and endoscopes, flexible coherent fiberoptics and light guides, fiberoptic tapers, and fiberoptic faceplates for image transfer in medical x-ray machines, light-guiding fiberoptic rods and tapers, and laser-beam guide systems.

Kamelian reborn as Amphotonix

The semiconductor optical-amplifier product line of the recently liquidated company Kamelian has been reborn. Amphotonix (Glasgow, Scotland) has acquired the Kamelian brand, along with the intellectual property, stock, and key equipment of the original company. The new company has been founded by two of the cofounders of Kamelian, Craig Tombling and Tony Kelly, and will return the Kamelian line from Oxford to its roots in Glasgow.

At its peak, Kamelian employed 47 people, but the collapse of the optical communications market left the company with large, fixed facility overheads that forced its closure in July 2004. Kamelian’s revival comes amid signs of improvement in the market for optoelectronic equipment. Chris Gracie, chief executive of the Scottish Optoelectronics Association is upbeat about the future. “We are quite optimistic at the moment; global markets for optoelectronics are growing at about 9%,” he said.

Canada opens Photonics Fabrication Centre

The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and Carleton University officially opened the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC) in Ottawa.

The $43 million facility is a partnership between the National Research Council and Carleton University (Ottawa, ON, Canada) to support growth of the photonics sector. It offers companies, universities, and other institutions access to fabrication services to develop leading-edge photonic devices.

Carnegie Mellon team uses KVH gyros in Grand Challenge entry

In October 2005, Carnegie Mellon University’s (Pittsburgh, PA) Red Team will compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Grand Challenge. The objective: successfully race two driverless Hummers against other teams across 175 miles of Mojave Desert terrain in 10 hours or less. It is the ultimate challenge in robotics engineering with a winner-take-all prize of $2 million. The one catch: the vehicles have no drivers. Created in response to a Congressional and Department of Defense mandate, the DARPA Grand Challenge is a field test proposed to expedite research and development of autonomous ground vehicles to assist on the battlefield (see Laser Focus World, May 2005, p. 149).

The team is using fiberoptic gyroscopes (FOGs) from KVH Industries (Middletown, RI), a Red Team Silver Sponsor, to help them go the distance.

“Red Team chose KVH products due to a cost-versus-performance equation,” said Red Whittaker, team leader for Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. KVH was also chosen because of its recognized industry expertise in dynamic sensing-related projects and its long track record of providing sensing equipment at Carnegie Mellon University.”

Also in the news . . .

Xtera Communications(Allen, TX) opened five sales and support centers around the globe. The first opening occurred in France to support customer wins and deployment of an all-optical multiservice network. . . . Furukawa Electric North America and its wholly owned subsidiary OFS Fitel (Norcross, GA) are suing Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Company (Yangtze, China), alleging that the China-based company infringes at least four U.S. patents related to single-mode and multimode optical fiber and processes for making optical fiber. . . . Frost & Sullivan’s 2005 European Technology Leadership Award in the field of optical fiber technologies went to Liekki (Lohja, Finland) in recognition of its doped-optical-fiber manufacturing technology, based on the use of nanoparticle direct deposition of rare-earth metals. . . . Infinera (Sunnyvale, CA) announced that OnFiber Communications (Austin, TX;) has deployed the Infinera DTN optical platform for dense wavelength-division multiplexing and bandwidth management in multiple metro-optical networks throughout the U.S.

Gail Overton

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