News Briefs

Jun 15th, 2007

New name: SPIE (Bellingham, WA) has retired “The International Society for Optical Engineering” adopted as its business name in 1981. From now on the Society will be known as SPIE in order to better represent its growing community of scientists, researchers and engineers in industry, academia and government. SPIE continues to serve its core optics and photonics community as an advocate as well as serving its broader scientific and technical communities, and society at large. Founded in 1955, SPIE continues to support those who seek to learn, discover and innovate by building a better world with light.

In related news, SPIE President Brian Culshaw and CEO Eugene G. Arthurs recently joined leaders of other societies in the House Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill. The two met with members of the House Science Committee, praising them for their swift action on the National Science Foundation (NSF) Authorization Act, approving $21 billion for the NSF for FY08-FY10, and renewed support for the American Competitiveness Initiative. The two spoke with Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (WA). They praised the committee, while voicing their concern that the bills get fully funded through the appropriations process and asked what SPIE could do to support the thrust of the Science Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education.

“SPIE members should interact with young students,” Baird said. “They should go into the schools, bring them into the labs and show them the excitement of science and engineering.”

New brand: DILAS (Mainz, Germany) unveiled a new brand identity to reinforce their image and market growth over the past years and to reaffirm the company’s position as a leader in the global delivery of high power diode lasers. The company’s new logo has a clean, bold and modern font which is now supported by the new company tagline: “The diode laser company.” All DILAS international facilities will be marketed under one brand. The new branding effort will be communicated and supported with advertising and promotional efforts and a new website by summer 2007.

The new brand signifies our company’s revitalization, passion and belief in our products, commitment to excellence, product innovation and customer satisfaction on a global level,” said Joerg Neukum, DILAS’ director of sales and marketing.

Fiber patent: Sterlite Optical Technologies (Pune, India), a global provider and integrated manufacturer of optical fiber, has been granted a U.S. patent for invention of its Sterlite DOF-LITE (LEA) Single Mode Optical Fiber. Product Patent US 7,209,620,B2 for “Dispersion optimized fiber having higher spot area” was granted in April 2007 and is valid up to Year 2024. This dispersion-optimized fiber with higher spot area is designed for long haul, high data rate, and multi-wavelength transmission. According to the company, the patented product is capable of reducing the fiber non-linear effect like four-wave mixing for better DWDM performance in the wavelength region of 1530 to 1565 nm (C-band) and 1565 to 1625 nm (L-band).

Expanding: Customer demand for precision floor vibration isolation systems from Technical Manufacturing Corporation (TMC; Peabody, MA) has fueled the company’s fourth building expansion in the last 15 years. The additional 9000 square feet of manufacturing space includes large clean assembly areas to assemble, clean, and package systems bound for semiconductor factories and semiconductor equipment makers, pharmaceuticals, medical research labs, and advanced photonics facilities. TMC purchased the site and constructed the original 35,000-square-foot building in 1984. The current expansion brings the building to 80,000 square feet on an 11-acre site.

Image sensors: The image sensor market reached $6 billion in 2006, a jump of over 30% over 2005, with sales expected to grow another 14% in 2007, according to a new market report from Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA). While the overall market is becoming more predictable and growth will gradually slow over the next several years, cameraphones and digital cameras continue to exceed expectations. Strong growth is also expected in security cameras and in digital radiography. Automotive applications are moving slowly but steadily into production, but the segment remains small for now. The top five suppliers continue to hold about 2/3 of the total market share, but membership in the top five has changed. Sony and Micron are nearing $1 billion each in annual revenues. Overall, there are about 50 suppliers, about twice the number in 1997, but unchanged in the last few years.

Micro-optics production: Heptagon, a manufacturer of wafer-scale micro-optics, is establishing a 20,000 sq-ft volume manufacturing facility and regional headquarters in Singapore. This facility, which will be operational in July 2007, is part of a wholly-owned subsidiary Heptagon Micro Optics (Singapore) Pte Ltd. Chuck Milligan, Heptagon’s CEO, noted that “exponential growth” in demand for the company’s products can only be met with the opening of an additional, dedicated high-volume manufacturing facility.

“Heptagon has a truly unique value proposition; glass-based wafer-scale optics which are lead-free reflow and Telcordia compatible, yet ideal for high-volume applications which have until now only been addressable via much less robust injection-molded plastic,” said Milligan.

Heptagon Micro Optics Singapore will be run by Heng Hoon Cheng, a veteran in wafer-scale manufacturing, with more than 20 years of engineering and operations management experience in the electronics and semiconductor industries. He joins Heptagon from Epcos, a German company manufacturing surface acoustic wave filters in Singapore.

Military contract: Aculight (Bothell, WA) was awarded a subcontract from The Pennsylvania State Universitys Electro-Optics Center (EOC) for $2.6 million. The work will primarily address two types of semiconductor lasers used in advanced mid-infrared laser transmitters being developed for use in future aircraft infrared countermeasures defensive systems, which can autonomously detect, track and jam heat-seeking missiles protecting both military and commercial aircraft.

Series B: Quanlight (San Diego, CA), a start-up that intends to commercialize a new material system for red LEDs, raised $3 million in its oversubscribed Series B offering. The financing was led by Blackbird Ventures and (SHW)2 Enterprises with a small group of private investors. Harvey White, chairman of (SHW)2 Enterprises, has joined the organization as chairman of the board. White is a co-founder and former president and COO of Qualcomm, as well as the founder and former chairman and CEO of Leap Wireless.

According to Quanlight CEO Neil Senturia, the financing will be used to take the company from research and development to wafer production. Quanlight has developed novel material science that creates LEDs with increased stability and brightness.

Quanlight’s patent-pending technology was originally developed at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) by Charles Tu and Vladimir Odnoblyudov. Quanlight holds an exclusive license to commercialize the technology from UCSD.

Acquisition complete: Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Vancouver, Canada) has completed its acquisition of TIR Systems (Vancouver), a provider of solid-state lighting technology for products that generate high-quality white light. Under terms of the agreement, Philips acquired TIR Systems for a total consideration of approximately C$75 million (US$70 million), which was paid in cash upon completion. As a result of the transaction, TIR Systems will be financially consolidated within the Solid State Lighting business unit of Philips’ Lighting division.

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