News Briefs

Oct. 1, 2007

QCL cooperation: Laser Components (Hudson, NH) and Q-ON (Vienna, Austria) have agreed to work together in the field of quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). Q-ON has taken over the design and processing of wafers while Laser Components is responsible for the production, testing, integration, and packaging of the final SPECDILAS-Q in a TO housing and the QUANTA-OEM laser head. Q-ON was founded in 2005 as a spin-off of the Technical University in Vienna and Laser Components has had close contact with Q-ON since 2003. At that time, the QUANTA, the predecessor to the QUANTA-OEM, was equipped with a Viennese DFB-QCL and introduced to the public. The components are produced in a first-rate center for micro and nanostructuring.

Laser Tracker Order: FARO Technologies (Lake Mary, FL), manufacturer of portable computer-aided measurement arms and laser trackers, received an order for 15 FARO Laser Tracker Xi units from Boeing Company for commercial airplanes tooling in the Puget Sound area. “Boeing now has 41 total FARO Trackers in the area, including those being used on Integrated Defense Systems programs,” FARO president and CEO Jay Freeland said. “We are pleased to continue the relationship by supplying these additional units inside Boeing thanks to our exceptional product line and team support.” The FARO Laser Tracker is a portable, three-dimensional measurement system that uses laser technology to effectively and accurately measure large parts, tooling, and machinery within its 230 ft range.

Seeking board seat: Investment adviser Oliver Press Partners LLC (New York, NY) said in a regulatory filing it may seek a seat on the board of Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) because the maker of lasers and precision optics has underperformed expectations. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Oliver Press reported owning 1.9 million Coherent shares, which represents a 6% stake in the company. The investor said it “believes the company has underperformed and not provided sufficient value to its shareholders.” Oliver Press said it plans to begin discussions with Coherent’s management and board, and possibly other shareholders, about the company’s strategic direction. Oliver Press, which is managed by Augustus K. Oliver and Clifford Press, said it may also seek representation on Coherent’s board.

Laser-based prototyping: Fusion Optix (Cambridge, MA) has invested in and installed laser-based prototyping capabilities for the Fusion Optix Technology and Engineering Center (FOTEC) in Cambridge, MA. With this investment at FOTEC, Fusion Optix is able to offer custom light guide development, as well as precision finishing of optical films, sheet and lenses. Fusion Optix CEO Terry Yeo said, “With the capability we now have to design and manufacture our patented films and components in house, we will also be able to grow our unique LED system designs portfolio much more rapidly. We understand that making sure our customers have the latest in LED systems in prototype form to make informed adoption decisions quickly is crucial for the fast-paced global display and lighting markets.”

Communications leadership: According to the latest data from industry analyst firm Ovum RHK, Infinera (Sunnyvale, CA) ranked first in revenue shipments in the key multi-reach dense-wavelength division multiplexer (DWDM) segment of the North American optical networking market in the second quarter of 2007. Infinera took 27% of this market segment, with shipments of $194 million in the four quarters through Q2 2007. In related news, Infinera demonstrated the transmission of 40 Gigabit/second (Gb/s) services over a record distance of 8,477 km across a transoceanic network spanning Europe and the U.S. In a separate demonstration at Infinera labs, Infinera demonstrated the successful transmission of 40 Gb/s services over 2,000 km of fiber with extremely high levels of polarization mode dispersion (PMD).

Communications milestone: TeraXion (Quebec City, QC, Canada), provider of OEM products for the generation and conditioning of light signals in telecom, defense & aerospace, and industrial markets, has shipped more than 2000 tunable chromatic dispersion compensation modules to date, establishing it as the overall worldwide market leader in 40 Gb/s systems. These 40 Gb/s deployments will speed up in the coming years with a huge increase of data traffic driven by new services such as triple-play, video content, IPTV, and file sharing. Recent announcements of important deployments of 40 Gb/s systems by major carriers such as AT&T and Verizon are strong drivers for the demand of tunable chromatic dispersion compensators. Research firm CIR forecasts that the market for tunable dispersion compensators will reach $245 million by 2012.

New laser business leader: JDSU (Milpitas, CA) has appointed Alan Lowe to lead its Commercial Lasers business, replacing Phillip Meredith who announced his plans to retire. Lowe most recently served as senior VP, customer solutions group at Asyst Technologies and brings over 20 years experience in general management, operations, sales and business development to JDSU. Lowe will focus his efforts on margin-expansion initiatives, lean-manufacturing initiatives, and working with customers as the industry continues its transition from gas to solid-state laser platforms. “I am proud to have led the commercial lasers team at JDSU and to have had the opportunity to work with an extraordinarily talented group of individuals,” said Meredith. “I leave with great confidence in the future direction of the business.”

Laser safety expert on board: Will Arthur has joined Kentek Corporation (Pittsfield, NH)-a supplier of laser safety products and accessories-as senior sales executive and regional sales director, with an office in Albuquerque, NM. Arthur is a recognized expert in eyewear and safety solutions for the laser industry, and is an active member in the ANSI Z136.1 & Z135.7 steering sub-committees, having 20 years experience in the laser manufacturing and laser safety industries. Arthur is a former member of the board of directors of the Laser Institute of America.

More new hires: Laser Mechanisms (Farmington Hills, MI), designer and manufacturer of laser beam delivery components and articulated arm systems for high-power lasers, named Mark Taggart as managing director, North American Operations, and has also named Glenn Golightly as managing director, Pacific Rim Operations.

Rochester Precision Optics (RPO; Rochester, NY), manufacturer of precision glass molded aspheric optics and optical assemblies for defense, commercial imaging, and industrial industries, announced the appointment of Edward Patton as director of sales and marketing.

Optical switch manufacturer Polatis (Billerica, MA) appointed three senior executives to its international sales force as it strives to meet growing demand for its optical switch technology. Stuart Santoro, previously VP of sales at Opvista, joins Polatis as director of telco sales, North America; Sean Gordon, formerly with Foxcom, joins Polatis as director of sales, video/broadcast worldwide; and Philip Benguhe, formerly of DiCon Fiberoptics, joins as director of Sales, defense and federal sector.

Thales Communications (Clarksburg, MD) announced two key appointments on its senior leadership team. Walt Hepker, who served as VP of program management since 2006, has been appointed VP of business development. Glen Parker has been selected to serve as the company’s VP of program management.

LED lighting funding: LedEngin (Santa Clara, CA), a supplier of high-power light-emitting diode (LED) components and light source modules, announced closing of its series C round of funding led by Partech International. LedEngin will use the funding to expand sales channels and manufacturing capacity, and develop additional solid-state lighting solutions for ultra-bright lighting applications traditionally served by halogen and incandescent bulbs. Tim Wilson, Partech International partner, said, “LED die manufacturers are under tremendous pressure to improve efficiency and lower cost. LedEngin has invented complementary packaging technologies that allow the LED component to be smaller, more efficient, much brighter and more reliable.” LedEngin began first customer samples in Q1 2007.

Solar America Initiative grant: Thin-film photovoltaic manufacturer Nanosolar (Palo Alto, CA) was awarded a cost-shared, three-year cooperative agreement by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the Solar America Initiative (SAI) in addition to receiving DOE SBIR Phase II and DOE NREL grants. Nanosolar will use the funds to deliver solar power product and system innovations to enable grid-parity commercial systems. “The Solar America Initiative provides support for Nanosolar’s objective of realizing grid-parity solar electricity in the near term,” said Brian Sager, Nanosolar’s SAI principal investigator. Nanosolar will receive $9.5 million (excluding partner allocations) through October 2008, with this award bringing total DOE funding for Nanosolar to approximately $20 million (excluding partner allocations), subject to availability of funds appropriated by the U.S. Congress.

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