News Briefs

OLED agreement: Eastman Kodak (Rochester, NY) signed a cross-licensing agreement with a Taiwan display maker to incorporate Kodak’s active-matrix organic LED (OLED) display technology in small-panel, mobile displays. The license, which is royalty-bearing to Kodak, enables Chi Mei EL (CMEL), a subsidiary of Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) based at the Southern Taiwan Science Park, Taiwan, to use Kodak technology for active-matrix OLED modules in a variety of small- to medium-size display applications such as mobile phones, digital cameras, and portable media players and enables CMEL to purchase Kodak’s patented OLED materials for use in manufacturing displays. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. CMEL makes OLEDs for a variety of applications. Its parent company is a manufacturer of thin-film transistor LCD (TFT-LCD) display products.

Robot sensors: Cognex (Natick, MA), a supplier of machine vision sensors and systems, announced recently that a major Japanese supplier of industrial robots has standardized on Cognex In-Sight vision sensors for their 3-axis and SCARA robots. The manufacturer will produce certain robot models with the In-Sight sensor integrated directly into the robot, and other models will be provided with specially designed firmware to optimize direct connection between In-Sight and the robot’s controller. This partnership is expected to generate more than $300,000 in annual revenue for Cognex.

Expanding: IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA) is expanding its sales force with two laser-industry veterans. Dan Eigner is the company’s new Atlantic Coast Sales Manager, while Tim Webber has been named Pacific Coast Sales Manager. Eigner has more than 20 years of experience in the laser field. Prior to joining IPG, he served as Northeast Sales Manager at Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc. Webber also comes to IPG with 20 years of experience in the laser field. He was previously at TRUMPF Inc., where he was West Coast Sales Manager.

Another merger: The Boards of Directors of Emtelle (London, UK) and Dantex (Sønder Felding, Denmark) have agreed to a merger of the two companies. The combined entity will be a provider of ducted network and blown fiber solutions, with the broadest ducting solutions offering for companies building fiber telecommunications access networks. Financial details around the merger were not disclosed. Emtelle is the leading telecommunication duct supplier in the UK and a world leader in blown fiber technology. Dantex is the leading supplier of HDPE multi-duct systems in Scandinavia. The merger will allow the combined businesses to offer a comprehensive product range designed to meet all network construction requirements for FTTX. George Brown and Mads A. Høgfeldt, the current chief executives of Emtelle and Dantex respectively, are appointed joint CEOs of the merged group and will be based in Hawick, Scotland.

Distribution agreement: Laser Components (Hudson, NH) and OSRAM Opto Semiconductors (Santa Clara, CA) announced a franchise distribution agreement throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico effective May 1, 2007. This agreement involves the distribution of all OSRAM’s high-power laser diode products. OSRAM Opto Semiconductors focuses its product offering on current growing laser markets such as military, security, medical, industrial, and commercial with unmounted semiconductor diode laser bars, packaged diode lasers and the recently released CS mounts and microchannel cooled arrays.

P-OLED upgrades: Cambridge Display Technology (CDT; Cambridge, UK) and Sumation (Tokyo, Japan) report improved results for green and blue P-OLED materials. Data from spin-coated devices using a common cathode and a recently developed solution processable green P-OLED material demonstrate lifetimes of 50,000 hours from an initial luminance of 1000 candelas per square meter (cd/sq.m). According to the companies, this is equivalent to more than 285,000 hours from an operating brightness of 400cd/sq.m for this material and represents a 40% increase in lifetime compared to results announced on March 27, 2007. Blue materials have now been developed with a demonstrated lifetime of 10,000 hours from an initial luminance of 1000 cd/sq.m (or 62,000 hours from an operating brightness of 400cd/sq.m) and a deeper color.

China presence: Princeton Instruments (Trenton, NJ) has significantly expanded its operations in the Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The company has established a direct sales and marketing office in Beijing, China that will be supported country wide by a new partnership with Hong Kong-based Teltec Semiconductor Pacific Ltd. Teltec Pacific also has local sales and technical support offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Dalian, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Tianjin and Hsinchu in Taiwan. According to John Knapton, vice president of sales and marketing for Princeton Instruments, Princeton has led the scientific camera and spectrograph research market in China for more than 15 years, and this expansion and partnership will enable them to even better serve their growing customer base in the region and address the burgeoning industrial business in both China and Taiwan.

Night-vision contract: Elbit Systems Electro-Optics Elop (Elop; Haifa, Israel) was awarded several contracts valued at a total of approximately $50 million to supply hand-held thermal imaging systems to the Canadian and Israeli armed forces as well as for additional customers worldwide. Elop entered the field of thermal imaging systems in the 1970s and has produced and supplied thousands of thermal imaging systems to the most demanding military organizations and defense industries worldwide, employing the latest thermal imaging technologies for use in almost all known military night-vision applications.

China facility: EMCORE (Albuquerque, NM), a leading provider of compound semiconductor-based components and subsystems for the broadband, fiber optic, satellite, and terrestrial solar power markets, has commenced product shipments from its recently opened low-cost manufacturing facility in China. EMCORE’s China facility is located in an export-processing zone in Langfang City, approximately 20 miles southeast of Beijing. EMCORE China currently occupies a space of 22,000 square feet with a Class-10,000 clean room for optoelectronic device packaging. Another 60,000 square feet is available for future expansion. Charlie Wang, former Director of Engineering of EMCORE Fiber Optics, has been appointed General Manager of EMCORE China. EMCORE will consolidate and move the manufacturing of certain cost sensitive optoelectronic device products to this facility.

"We chose this location because of its convenient access to infrastructures and talent pools of nearby Beijing and Tianjin metro areas. This facility will experience a very low operating cost in addition to tax and import/export benefits for being located in an export-processing zone," Wang said. "We will be packaging optical subassemblies for broader applications of storage-area network, local-area network, cable TV, and telecom markets. We have already transferred and started the qualification processes for certain products."

Multi-year contract: Photonic Products Group announced that its MRC Optics subsidiary in Sarasota, FL has been competitively awarded a multi-year contract from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive & Armaments Command in Rock Island, IL to provide new precision metal optical mirrors for the M1A1 Abrams tank fire-control electro-optical suite. The contract award contains an initial funding release of $660,000 for first year deliveries, with multiple options for additional releases during the next three years.

Additionally, MRC Optics received in excess of $240,000 funding from the U.S. Army’s Anniston Army Depot (Anniston, AL) for refurbishment of existing M1A1 tank mirrors over the next three months under the company’s existing multi-year basic purchase agreement with the Army.

Acquisition: Gooch & Housego (Ilminster, England) acquired Sifam Fibre Optics Ltd. (Torquay, England) for £5 million (US$10 million) in a cash-and-stock deal. Sifam manufactures passive and active fiber-optic components and integrated modules and systems incorporating fiber optics, sources, detectors and associated electronics for the biomedical, telecom, industrial and aerospace and defense industries. The company was founded in 2002 following a management buyout of JDS Uniphase UK Ltd.

Gooch & Housego CEO Gareth Jones said the acquisition of Sifam will expand Gooch & Housego’s product range and enable the company to address new applications and markets. “We now have the ability to address a number of exciting new opportunities in the fields of microscopy and diagnostic instrumentation by combining our technologies and resources,” he said.

China IPO: According to news reports, Sunny Optical Technology (Zhejiang, China) plans to launch an initial public offering in Hong Kong on June 15. The company, one of the largest producers of optical components and subsystems in China, hopes to raise up to HKD 1.03 billion (US$132 million) through the IPO, offering 270 million ordinary shares (about 27% of its enlarged capital stock). The shares are expected to be sold at the price ranging from HKD 3 to 3.82 apiece.

Imaging patent: Imaging Diagnostic Systems (IMDS; Fort Lauderdale, FL) has been issued a new patent for its Laser Imager for Laboratory Animals (LILA). The latest LILA patent, US Letters Patent #7,212,848, “Optical Computed Tomography Scanner for Small Laboratory Animals,” builds on the previous LILA patent, US #7,155,274, of the same title. The original LILA patent covers the basic computed tomographic fluorescent imaging of small laboratory animals. This latest patent, issued May 1, 2007, adds the concept of a second laser, typically at a longer wavelength, to provide a geographic reference for the fluorescence image. This application provides both functional and anatomic information, similar to that provided by a more expensive small animal CT/PET scanner.

This patent is the 12th issued to IMDS with applicability to small animal optical imaging. IMDS previously licensed its optical animal imaging technologies on an exclusive basis to Bioscan (Washington, D.C.). IMDS has received from Bioscan full payment of a $250,000 technology transfer fee and is entitled to future royalty payments as the licensed products are commercialized.

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