News Briefs

WANTED! Your input on broadband stimulus: The Optical Society (OSA; Washington, DC) wants to remind photonics professionals of upcoming deadlines should you be interested in weighing in on how $7.2 billion in broadband funding from the U.S. government should be distributed.

WANTED! Your input on broadband stimulus: The Optical Society (OSA; Washington, DC) wants to remind photonics professionals of upcoming deadlines should you be interested in weighing in on how $7.2 billion in broadband funding from the U.S. government should be distributed. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the economic stimulus bill, provides funding for deployment of broadband to unserved and “underserved” areas of the country that must be distributed before September 30, 2010, to projects that can be completed within two years.

The Act requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and authorizes the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the Department of Agriculture to issue grants and loans for broadband deployment. Both entities issued a joint Request for Information with comments due electronically by April 13, 2009.

To facilitate this program, public meetings with NTIA and RUS are taking place throughout the country. For more information, go to www.ntia.doc.gov/frnotices/2009/FR_BTOP_RFI_090312.pdf. Alternatively, you can submit comments electronically up to April 13 at www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/form.cfm.

INVITATION! Stimulus briefings from IGI: Information Gatekeepers (IGI; Brighton, MA) says the Obama Stimulus Package includes approximately $800 billion in new investment designed to boost the U.S. economy over the next 24 months, with more than $30 billion being specifically directed at Telecommunications, Photonics, and Information Technologies (TPIT). Another $30 billion will be spent on related activities that could directly and indirectly give a further boost to TPIT.

To assist with understanding this opportunity, IGI, in cooperation with the Paul Hastings LLP and Information Age Economics (IAE), is planning a series of telecommunications and photonics executive briefings that will bring together leaders from President Obama’s Administration, the U.S. Congress, senior members of the Executive Branch, and other policymakers and stakeholders, who will explain the market opportunities and how you can access them.

The first Executive Briefing will be an overview of the stimulus package and an analysis of the major sections that focus on the telecommunications, photonics, and IT markets, and will be held on April 23 in Washington, DC. Alan Pearce, president of Information Age Economics and a world-renowned telecommunications economist, and Tara Giunta, a partner in Paul Hastings’s Telecom, Media and IT Practice, will be the Co-Chairs.

For more information on these briefings, contact Hui Pan at IGI, phone (617) 782–5033, or email [email protected]

Thorlabs acquires Covega: Thorlabs (Newton, NJ) acquired Covega (Jessup, MD), a developer of indium phosphide (InP) and lithium niobate (LiNbO3) proprietary technologies. With early focus on the telecom, datacom, and cable TV industries, Covega now generates over one-third of its revenue from serving the defense, medical, industrial, sensing, test & measurement, and instrumentation industries. Covega specializes in manufacturing gain chips, semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs), and InP products. The Covega team’s vast knowledge includes materials, device design, wafer growth and fabrication, processing, advanced E/O device packaging, manufacturing, and system engineering, with a 40,000 sq. ft. facility in central Maryland that includes 18,000 sq. ft. of class 100 and 10,000 cleanroom facilities.

LCD month-on-month growth: February 2009 shipments of large-area thin-film transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT LCD) panels reached 29.5 million units, showing strong month-on-month (M/M) growth of 23%, according to the DisplaySearch (Austin, TX) Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database. Specifically, large-area TFT LCD revenues reached $2.96 billion, up 14% M/M. For both unit shipments and revenues February was the first positive monthly growth since September 2008. February’s results were mainly due to increasing rush orders, as well as inventory refill from clients, but they could also be an indication that the TFT LCD industry is at, or near, the bottom of the cycle. However, shipments are still lower than in February last year, and the year-over-year decline is in the double digits.

First certified with new ISO standard: Headwall Photonics (Fitchburg, MA), a leading supplier of high performance integrated spectrometer systems for spectral imaging and chemical sensing applications, announced that the company had completed a successful ISO audit that resulted in Headwall being one of the first companies to be certified under the new ISO 2001:9008 standard. According to Arlen Chapman, quality systems director of NQA, a prestigious ISO audit and surveillance company, “The new ISO standards are more rigorous and demanding than previous standards. Headwall, as a venture-backed technology manufacturer, is certainly a leader in the implementation of quality standards with work procedures and systems comparable to those typically seen in much larger organizations.”

Elektronik 2009 Product of the Year: Global LED manufacturer Seoul Semiconductor announced that their Z-Power LED P7 series was awarded 2009 Product of Year for an optoelectronics component from Elektronik magazine. The award is based on questionnaires sent to about 5500 engineers. The Z-Power LED P7 series has a brightness of 900 lm and efficiency of 90 lm/W--about 36% brighter than incandescent lamps, and emits in all directions around 360°. A staff member at Seoul Semiconductor said, “Awards of our products in Korea and overseas countries mean that our technological superiority has been recognized. We will make more efforts for our technological advancement by keeping the rule of investing 10% in R&D aiming at being one of World Top 3 in 2012.”

25-year anniversary: On January 16, 1984, the memorandum of association of research center IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) was signed, and on March 15, just 25 years ago, IMEC appeared as a newly established research center in the Belgian Statute Books. Twenty five years later, IMEC has grown into a world-renowned institute addressing with its nanoelectronics research some of the major challenges of the planet and its people: communication, mobility, education, environment, energy, and the aging population. Gilbert Declerck, IMEC’s CEO, said, “A perfect combination of acquired knowhow and experience, with the continued influx of young talent from all over the world has been, and still is, essential for research at high level.”

SPIE China testimony: In addition to testimony by the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA; Washington, DC; see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/356524), SPIE (Bellingham, WA) CEO Eugene Arthurs was one of three speakers on a nanotechnology and optoelectronics panel that testified at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission hearing in Washington, DC. Please look for a follow-up story in a future issue of Optoelectronics Report about the March 24th hearing on “China’s Industrial Policy and its Impact on U.S. Companies, Workers, and the American Economy,” especially as it relates to photonics and optoelectronics.

Workforce reduction: Semiconductor test company KLA-Tencor (Milpitas, CA) announced a 10% reduction in its global workforce. This reduction is in addition to the company’s workforce reduction that was announced in November 2008 (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/346675). “Although we have been successful in our efforts to reduce operating costs in late 2008 and early 2009, we must now further reduce our operating expenses in order to respond to the current demand environment,” said Rick Wallace, CEO of KLA-Tencor. “Today’s reduction in force is an extremely difficult decision as we realize the effect this action will have on both impacted and remaining employees.”

New company: Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL), miniature photonics and spectroscopy systems manufacturer, announced that its Thin Films Division has now become a separate company and part of the Health Optics & Photonics Division of Ocean’s parent company Halma. The new entity will be known as Ocean Thin Films (www.oceanthinfilms.com) and will design and manufacture patented dichroic filters and precision optics for scientific, biomedical and defense applications, metrology, and entertainment technology. In November 2008, Ocean Thin Films acquired Oerlikon Optics U.S., bolstering its offering in optical components and subassemblies for instrumentation used in the life sciences, medical, and other scientific applications.

People in the news: The Boeing Company named Greg Hyslop as VP and GM of its Missile Defense Systems division. He will oversee an organization of more than 3500 employees in nine major operating locations across the U.S. In his 26 years with Boeing, Hyslop has held a number of executive leadership positions in engineering and program management. His most recent role was leading the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program.

The organizers of the European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) Exhibition (September 20–24 in Vienna, Austria) have appointed a high profile line-up of industry experts to shape the technical and business-driven content of the Market Focus Seminars taking place during the ECOC Exhibition. The seven committee members have been confirmed as Stephan Neidlinger from ADVA Optical Networking, Chris Clarke from Bookham, Philippe Chanclou from France Telecom, Joeri Van Bogaert from the FTTH Council Europe, Michael Lebby from the OIDA, Daryl Inniss from Ovum, and Glenn Wellbrock from Verizon.

SPIE Fellow and Provost of Johns Hopkins University Kristina Johnson was nominated by President Barack Obama to be Under Secretary of Energy. Johnson has been the chief academic officer at Johns Hopkins since 2007. She served on the Society’s Board of Directors from 2006 to 2008 and has served on SPIE governance and conference committees. She holds 129 U.S. and foreign patents and is the co-founder of several startup companies.

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