News Briefs

Management buyout: Global Laser, a U.K. manufacturer of laser diode modules and lasers for specialized applications, announced that the company is now 100% owned by its employees.

Jun 1st, 2009

Management buyout: Global Laser, a U.K. manufacturer of laser diode modules and lasers for specialized applications, announced that the company is now 100% owned by its employees. The buyout was supported with funding from the employees and a loan from Finance Wales. Founded in 2001 by five private investors, three of the original shareholders have now sold their holdings to facilitate the buyout. The remaining two original investors, John Watkinson and John Miller, together with David Beckerley, led the buyout team and will continue in existing capacities with the company. The company says its core strategy will remain much the same, but it recognizes that today it is even more essential to be fast-to-market.

Telecom merger: GigaSpeed International (soon to be replaced by iUHBA Networks; iuhba.com) and Photonics, Inc. (Philadelphia, PA; www.photonicslabs.com) agreed to effect a full merger. iUHBA is an FTTH company that originated a new telecommunications business standard: the FiberBroadband Strategy (FBS). Photonics, Inc. has two affiliates, Photonics Laboratories, an R&D company that develops photonics, semiconductor, and fiber-optic technologies, and Photonics GTT (Global Technology Transfer), which specializes in international technology transfer. The surviving company will remain named Photonics, Inc., executing the roll-out of nationwide fiber to the home/office and broadband wireless/mobile networks in the USA.

Laser singulation IP: Electro Scientific Industries (ESI; Portland, OR), a provider of photonic and laser systems for microengineering applications, purchased all intellectual property (IP) rights and certain hardware and software components from XSiL (Dublin, Ireland). XSiL provided high-yield process solutions that improved die break strength and throughput for semiconductor wafer singulation applications. For calendar Q1 2009 (its fiscal Q4), ESI cash and investments totaled $162 million. Nick Konidaris, ESI president and CEO, said, “We are confident our strong balance sheet and debt-free position will allow us to withstand this downturn and continue to invest for long-term growth.”

Phototherapy funding: Ondine Biopharma Corporation (Vancouver, BC, Canada), a medical device company developing photodisinfection-based products announced a share exchange transaction with Grafton Resource Investments. Ondine will issue to Grafton Fund shares with a value of approximately $1.5 million in exchange for shares of Grafton. “The investment in Ondine by the Grafton Fund demonstrates support for commercialization efforts of Ondine’s MRSA nasal decolonization product, MRSAid, and the Company’s plans to pursue other photodynamic disinfection opportunities in the $10 billion Hospital Acquired Infection market,” said Carolyn Cross, Ondine’s Chairman and CEO.

Laser award for 2010: With its Innovation Award Laser Technology 2010, the Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e.V. (www.akl-ev.de) and the European Laser Institute (ELI; www.europeanlaserinstitute.org) will reward outstanding innovation in laser development and applications for production technology on May 5, 2010 at the International Laser Technology Congress AKL 2010 (www.lasercongress.org) in Aachen, Germany with 10,000 Euro ($13,300) in prize money. The eligible projects must center on the use of laser light in materials processing and the methods of producing such light, and must furthermore be of demonstrable commercial value to industry. Details are at www.innovation-award-laser.com.

Spectroscopy infringement?: Spectros Corporation (Portola Valley, CA) filed in Federal District Court today against Thermo Fisher Scientific, alleging infringement of Spectros’ spectroscopy patent family by Thermo Fisher’s Nanodrop 3300 product. Spectros invented and commercialized solid-state, broadband, integrated spectroscopy light sources based on white LEDs, and incorporated these into its T-Stat product, replacing hot light bulbs with cool illuminator sources. The Nanodrop 3300, introduced to market after T-Stat, also incorporates a white LED for spectroscopy. “We are surprised that Thermo Fisher Scientific has continued to market devices incorporating our novel and proprietary technology. We trust that, over time, TMO will appreciate the validity and value of the broad, early optical biotechnology intellectual property portfolio held by Spectros,” said David Benaron, Spectros CEO.

Green, UV fiber laser patent: Mobius Photonics (Santa Clara, CA) was awarded U.S. Patent #7,529,281, “Light source with precisely controlled wavelength-converted average power”. Its key innovation is the control of wavelength-converted pulse energy and average power, achieved through control of the wavelength conversion efficiency; particularly useful in fiber master-oscillator power-amplifier (MOPA) systems where the infrared fundamental wavelength is converted to green or ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths. Laura Smoliar, CEO of Mobius Photonics, said, “Our system’s exceptional pulse stability and control enable superior process uniformity and repeatability for a diverse array of precision material processing applications, from scribing of large-format solar panels to meeting tight cutting or drilling tolerances needed for miniaturizing electronics.”

Flexible SSL report: The FlexTech Alliance (San Jose, CA), focused on developing the electronic display and the flexible, printed electronics industry supply chain, announced the release of its first-ever market report of this type, entitled, “Flexible Solid State Lighting: Technology, Manufacturing, and Market Assessment.” This 329-page special report provides an in-depth technology overview of the latest advancements and the emerging market opportunities for print-based, flexible, solid-state lighting (SSL). FlexTech’s report is based on technology and market trends compiled by experts who researched the industry’s top SSL scientific, engineering, and product development teams.

Young Researcher Prizes: The European Physical Society announced the winners of its young researcher Prizes in Quantum Electronics and Optics. Awarded once every two years, the prizes recognize the highest level of excellence amongst emerging researchers. The 2009 Fresnel Prize (Fundamental) winner was Tobias Kippenberg, tenure track assistant professor at ETH Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, for work on ultra-high Q microresonators for optical frequency comb generation. The 2009 Fresnel Prize (Applied) winner was Romain Quidant, ICREA junior professor and ICFO group leader of the Plasmon Nano-Optics group in Barcelona, for engineering plasmon properties of metallic nanostructures to extend photonic functionalities down to the nanometer scale. 2009 PhD Thesis Prizes were also awarded; see qeod.epsdivisions.org.

IEEE Photonics Award: Robert L. Byer is being honored by IEEE with the 2009 IEEE Photonics Award. The award, sponsored by the IEEE Photonics Society, recognizes Byer for seminal contributions to nonlinear optics and solid-state lasers for commercial applications from precision measurement to manufacturing. The award will be presented on June 3 at the 2009 CLEO/IQEC conference. Byer has been working with lasers since 1969 with research centered on advanced lasers and frequency tuning of lasers using nonlinear optics. This technology is being developed today for use in laser projection displays, for future high-brightness television, and led to the development of ultraviolet solid-state lasers used for drilling tiny holes in circuit boards of electronic components.

People in the news: The Optical Society (OSA; Washington, DC) announced that Robert T. Michaels, CPA, will join the staff as CFO. Michaels has more than 20 years of experience in the financial sector; most recently, he was VP of finance at the American Association for Justice (AAJ), formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, in Washington, DC.

SPIE (Bellingham, WA) appointed Lihong V. Wang of Washington University (St. Louis, MO) as editor of the Journal of Biomedical Optics, effective 1 January 2010. Wang received his PhD from Rice University in Houston, TX and holds the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University. He has authored and co-authored two books, published more than 120 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, and delivered more than 130 plenary, keynote, and invited talks.

SPIE is awarding $292,000 in scholarships to 116 outstanding individuals, based on their potential for long-range contribution to optics and photonics, or a related discipline. Selected awards include Chee-Loon Tan, Lehigh University, awarded the SPIE D.J. Lovell Scholarship; The John Kiel Scholarship is awarded to Miguel Bandres, California Institute of Technology.

Optical networking company Infinera (Sunnyvale, CA) appointed Dirk Corsus as VP of systems engineering. Corsus spent 23 years with Alcatel and Alcatel Lucent managing global engineering teams, and has been involved with product launches including optical, routing, and access products.

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