News Briefs

April 1, 2007

Taiwan O/E: The Taiwan Optoelectronics and Semiconductor Industries Association (TOSIA) has been established in Taipei, with members vowing “to build Taiwan into a leading center in the optoelectronics and semiconductor industries in the world.” Lite-On Technology Corporation is one of the 14 major LED manufacturers forming the association, in collaboration with the non-profit Industrial Technology Research Institute. The association will foster the research and development of new technologies; push for the establishment of standards in the optoelectronics and semiconductor industries; sponsor conferences that are conducive to enhancing the industry’s development; promoting technological cooperation on an international basis; and help the government enact relevant policies to aid the industry’s progress.

More consolidation: CyOptics (Lehigh Valley, PA), a developer of indium phosphide (InP) optical chip and component technologies, signed a definitive agreement to acquire Apogee Photonics (Allentown, PA), a supplier of laser sources for the 10Gb/s and emerging 40Gb/s markets. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.The acquisition extends CyOptics’ high-speed source laser capabilities and positions CyOptics with a portfolio of InP-based transmit and receive optical chips and components for telecommunications and data communications applications.

CAREER grant: Producing optical images at resolutions as low as one nanometer is the goal of Virginia Tech College of Engineering researcher Yong Xu, who has received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award. Xu, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, secured the five-year CAREER grant, which is worth $400,000 and is NSF’s most prestigious award for creative junior faculty who are considered likely to become academic leaders of the future. Xu, who is affiliated with Virginia Tech’s Center for Photonics Technology, is investigating a number of areas related to the development of nanoscale optical sensors for chemical and biological applications. He holds a patent on semiconductor surface lenses and shaped structures and has a patent pending in the area of efficient electro-optical modulation.

Spin off: Arima Optoelectronics (Dashi, Taiwan) has decided to spin off its laser-diode division and set up a new company named Hua Xin Optronics, according to a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange. After the restructuring, Arima will focus on the LED chip business, the company said. The spin-off will be effective August 1, 2007. Arima set up its laser-diode business in 1999, with Sony and Mitsubishi Electric being its major partners. In related news, Arima Opto said it expects to continue expanding its LED chip capacity, with the monthly capacity of AlGaInP (aluminum gallium indium phosphide) LED chips to reach 1 billion units this year.

Market report: Discrete semiconductor sales that include transistor products, diodes, rectifiers, power MOSFETs and other commodity discretes, performed better than expected in 2006, according to a new market report from IC Insights (Scottsdale, AZ). Not only did discrete sales outpace growth rates for ICs in 2006, it was the first time that has occurred since 1990. Discretes sales growth came in at 8.8% compared to IC’s 8.7% rate for 2006. IC Insights’ new Optoelectronics, Sensors, and Discrete (O-S-D) Report, is forecasting a 7% increase in worldwide discrete sales to $17.7 billion in 2007 from $16.6 billion in 2006. This year, the discretes market will finally surpass its record-high sales total of $16.9 billion set in 2000.

Business incubator: The Infotonics Center (Canandaigua, NY) has been awarded a $3 million grant from the Economic Development Administration in the US Department of Commerce. The funds will help the center incubate businesses in the fields of photonics, information systems and optics and create approximately 200 jobs in the greater Rochester region. The Infotonics Technology Center was formed in 2001 by Eastman Kodak Co., Corning Inc. and Xerox Corp. as a nonprofit corporation to operate New York State’s Center of Excellence in Photonics and Microsystems. The center, which in 2002 moved to a 123,000-sq-ft former Xerox facility in Canandaigua, provides research and development on photonics, MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) and MOEMS (micro-optoelectromechanical systems) for applications including chemical, biological and physical sensors; planar and free-space optics and microfluidics.

New factory: Industrial-laser manufacturer Trumpf (Farmington, CT) has opened a new sales, service, demonstration, and production facility in Monterrey, Mexico. The company has invested more than $10 million dollars in the 6400 sq. meter production building, which includes an advanced manufacturing facility and sales and application center that is open to Mexican fabricators and manufacturers for tours and technology demonstrations.

“This new facility in Mexico strengthens our position in North America. The production facility also gives our Mexican customers the confidence that we are here and will remain here in the long term,” explains Peter Leibinger, vice chairman of the TRUMPF Group managing board and head of the TRUMPF’s laser and electronic division.

Bigger digs: Bristol Instruments (Victor, NY) has moved in order to expand its production facility and its laboratory space. The company said the new, larger facility will better accommodate its growing business in the photonics research market. And, with larger laboratory space, the development of new products can be accelerated.

Bristol Instruments, founded by former employees of Burleigh Instruments, uses its expertise in optical interferometry to design, manufacture, and market precision scientific instruments.

Defense partners: EM4 (Bedford, MA) and its wholly owned subsidiary EM4 Defense signed a teaming agreement with TeraXion, where EM4 will be the primary market channel for the TeraXion high performance laser product line into the US defense and homeland security market. This agreement between EM4, the premier U.S. manufacturer of optoelectronic components for the U.S. defense Industry and TeraXion manufacturer of specialized laser modules for the US defense Industry enables our customers to access state of the art products and services fully meeting, and exceeding, the Defense industry’s advanced requirements.

Army contract: Alfalight (Madison, WI) has been awarded a research and development contract worth $1.7 million from the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Maryland. This 12-month program, entitled “Scalable High Efficiency Solid-State Laser”, will enable Alfalight to develop high-power fiber-coupled pump modules especially suitable for pumping high power fiber laser systems developed in conjunction with ARL. The objective of the contract is to develop very high power pump blocks, suitable for use in building compact and efficient high-power fiber lasers.

NA distributor: Onefive GmbH (Zurich, Switzerland), a supplier of femtosecond, picosecond and tunable narrow linewidth laser modules for OEM, medical, environmental and research applications, has appointed Market Tech (Scotts Valley, CA) as its distributor in North America for all products.

Canadian distributor: Photon (San Jose, CA), a manufacturer of beam-profiling instrumentation, and Telepro Inc., a distributor of leading photonics instrumentation and component solutions, jointly announce a new distribution agreement in Canada. Telepro will distribute Photon’s beam profiling instruments in Quebec, the Maritimes, and Ontario with offices in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.

Big investment: Advanced Medical Optics (Santa Ana, CA) is pushing past the $1 billion level in total debt as it borrows $250 million to help pay for its upcoming $808 million purchase of eye-surgery laser maker IntraLase (Irvine, CA), according to news reports (Orange County Register). The 10-year loan deal comes with a 7.5% interest rate on notes that will be paid back in 2017. Advanced Medical had only $39 million in cash on hand as of its third-quarter financial report. It has arranged for a consortium of banks to help with further financing for the IntraLase transaction, expected to occur in the spring after regulators and Intralase stockholders approve. Before the latest borrowing, Advanced Medical Optics had $851 million in long-term debt.

Submit your news to Optoelectronics Report. Sales reports, market outlooks, and strategic moves are just a few of the items we would like you to share. Please fax information to Kathy Kincade at (603) 891-0475 or send e-mail to [email protected].

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