News Briefs

May 1, 2009
Bio-optics startups funded: Three companies have recently raised more than $38 million total to fund further development of their biophotonics products.

Bio-optics startups funded: Three companies have recently raised more than $38 million total to fund further development of their biophotonics products. LensX Lasers (Aliso Viejo, CA), maker of cataract surgery lasers, raised $22.36 million in Series B funding, while iris recognition developer AOptix Technologies (Campbell, CA) closed a $12.9 million financing round. And biomolecule detection company BiOptix Diagnostics (Boulder, CO) raised $3 million in a Series A round. The LensX founding team is the same group that founded IntraLase. AOptix is launching its first commercial product for the iris biometrics market, the InSight 2 Meter Iris Recognition System. And finally, BiOptix has developed a system (shipping Q3 2009) to enable quality assurance in drug development by measuring compound concentrations.

New optics capability: Laser optics manufacturer II-VI Infrared (Saxonburg, PA) is offering new diamond-turned optics fabrication processes: micro-milling and micro-grinding. By incorporating a high-speed tool spindle into a 4-axis diamond turning machine, freeform designs can be machined with excellent figure and finish. The process also improves the manufacturing efficiency and positional accuracy of designs that once required complicated tooling and assembly. Products that can be fabricated with this new manufacturing capability include microlens arrays, diffractive optics, “Fly’s Eye” structures, fluidic structures, optical molds, and gratings. For more information, go to or email [email protected].

Biophotonic experiments in space: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced its willingness to fund “highly meritorious biomedical experiments” that could benefit from the unique environment in space to produce breakthroughs in improvement of human health on Earth. The NIH is partnering with NASA to conduct biomedical experiments that astronauts could perform on the International Space Station (ISS). The space station provides a special microgravity and radiological environment that Earth-based laboratories cannot replicate. Already, biomedical experiments conducted on the ISS have addressed how bone and muscle deteriorate, how humans fight infectious disease, and how cancers grow and spread. For information on conducting your experiments in space, go to–120.html.

Coating sales representatives: Thin-film coatings manufacturer Deposition Sciences (DSI; Santa Rosa, CA;, appointed sales representatives in Europe and Asia. Schott France (Clichy, France) will represent DSI in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Spain. APL Japan (Osaka, Japan) is responsible for all lighting applications in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Komasa will represent DSI sales for all non-lighting applications in Japan. K. E. International (Tsaotun, NanTau Hsien, Taiwan) will handle all non-lighting sales and applications in Taiwan, China, and Korea. DSI says its proprietary MicroDyn sputtering technology provides highly durable, uniform optical coatings that are extremely stable over temperature and humidity changes.

Digital projection acquisition: Digital projection company InFocus Corporation (Wilsonville, OR) entered into a definitive merger agreement with Image Holdings Corporation (IHC), an Oregon company controlled by John Hui, accomplished entrepreneur and co-founder of eMachines. Under the terms of the agreement IHC and its wholly owned subsidiary, IC Acquisition Corporation (IC), will make an all cash tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of InFocus stock at $0.95 per share, or approximately $39 million in total. Bob O’Malley, president and CEO of InFocus, said, “John Hui understands the technology industry and will assist InFocus in the execution of its strategy. Operating as a privately held company is expected to reduce our costs and facilitate our ability to focus on longer-term priorities.”

OLED forecast: In its Q1’09 Quarterly OLED Shipment and Forecast Report, DisplaySearch (Austin, TX) forecasts the total OLED display market will grow to $5.5 billion by 2015, from $0.6 billion in 2008, with a CAGR of 37%. This growth is being driven by the adoption of active matrix OLED (AMOLED) displays in mobile phones and portable media players. Expansion of AMOLED manufacturing capacity will enable production of larger displays for mini-notebook and notebook PCs, desktop monitors and larger TVs. Jennifer Colegrove, director of display technologies at DisplaySearch, said, “AMOLED revenues will exceed those from passive matrix OLEDs (PMOLEDs) in 2009, and AMOLED is likely to pass PMOLEDs in terms of unit shipments in 2010, driven by mobile phone main display applications.”

Dental laser award: Among the winners of this year’s Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) is the Styla MicroLaser advanced dental laser system by Zap Lasers (Pleasant Hill, CA). In its announcement of the winners, awards producer MD&DI (Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry) magazine said Styla enables dentists to perform soft-tissue procedures with little or no patient anesthetic, recession, bleeding, or pain. The unit is 6.9 in. long, and weighs just 1.9 oz. It is powered by interchangeable lithium batteries, and activated wirelessly using a foot switch for easy operation by the dentist. The tool is also useful for other dentistry applications: incision, excision, vaporization, ablation, and coagulation of oral soft tissues.

Corning and Infinera awards: Grand prize winner of OSA’s OFC/NFOEC Corning Student Paper Award was Jeffrey Lee, Univ. of Technology (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) for “Discrete Multitone Modulation for High-Speed Data Transmission over Multimode Fibers Using 850-nm VCSEL.” Honorable mentions went to Mohammad Alfiad, Univ. of Technology (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) for “111-Gb/s POLMUX-RZ-DQPSK Transmission over LEAF: Optical Versus Electrical Dispersion Compensation” and Bo Zhang, Univ. of Southern California, USA for “Polarization-Based Fast-Swept Optical Spectrum Analyzer.” The OFC/NFOEC Infinera Award Winner was Ming-Chun Tien, University of California at Berkeley for “Optofluidic Assembly of InGaAsP Microdisk Lasers on Si Photonic Circuits with Submicron Alignment Accuracy.”

People in the news: University of California at Davis prof. of chemical engineering and materials science Julie Schoenung was one of 27 scientists from across the U.S. chosen to serve on California’s newly formed Green Ribbon Science Panel. Established in 2008 by Gov. Schwarzenegger, the panel will provide advice and act as a resource to California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Environmental Policy Council. Schoenung’s research interests include the synthesis of nanomaterials and thermal barrier coatings.

Boston Micromachines Corporation (BMC; Cambridge, MA), provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror products for adaptive optics systems, announced that company founder and CTO Thomas Bifano was awarded The Bepi Colombo Prize for his work in micro-deformable mirrors for astronomical telescopes. The prize is named for Italian scientist Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo, a fundamental figure in celestial mechanics, space science, and technology development.

SPIE appointed Ronald G. Driggers as editor of its flagship journal, Optical Engineering, effective January 1, 2010. Driggers is currently the superintendent of the Optical Sciences Division at the Naval Research Laboratory. He was previously the director of the Modeling and Simulation Division at the U.S. Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate and has worked for or consulted to Lockheed Martin, SAIC, Joint Precision Strike Demonstration Project Office, Redstone Technical Test Center, and ARL.

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