News Briefs

OSA lobbies Washington: Optical Society of America (OSA) members were on Capitol Hill earlier this month (during the CLEO/QELS conference) calling on their elected officials to support a range of science policy initiatives, including increased federal investments in scientific R&D FY2008 and innovation legislation in the House and Senate. Nearly 30 participants met one-on-one with U.S. senators and representatives and their staffs as part of the 2007 Capitol Hill Day event co-sponsored by OSA, the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA), the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (IEEE-LEOS).

Participants from 14 states discussed the importance of doubling federal investments in basic research for FY08 at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) core programs. Authorizing bills for both NSF and NIST passed in the House a week prior, providing Congress with the clearance to double the budgets for the two agencies by 2010. Participants will be thanking lawmakers for their support of those important first steps to ensuring scientific R&D gets the funding it needs. Participants also encouraged lawmakers to continue to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, thanking them for recent bills that emphasize its importance.

JDSU buys Innocor: JDSU (Milpitas, CA) signed an agreement to purchase Ottawa, Canada-based Innocor, a provider of broadband test solutions for network equipment manufacturers. Innocor’s products complement JDSU’s existing Lab and Production test solutions and will be integrated with JDSU’s Communications Test and Measurement (CommTest) business, one of the leading providers of test solutions for the research and development, service verification testing and production needs of network equipment manufacturers. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed and JDSU expects to complete the acquisition by the end of June.

Innocor expands JDSU’s product portfolio for the lab and production test market by capitalizing on a number of key assets, including Innocor’s successful TestPoint product family; the close customer relationships Innocor has with leading network equipment manufacturers worldwide; JDSU’s strong product development capabilities; and JDSU’s global direct sales organization and other distribution channels.

In a related development, JDSU appointed Bill Mortimer as vice president and general manager of JDSU CommTest’s Lab and Production division, overseeing the company’s fiber optic, optical transport, and Innocor business units. Mortimer brings more than 20 years of communications test experience, including 13 with Agilent Technologies/Hewlett-Packard.

USDA grants: Ekips Technologies (Norman, OK) has been awarded two Phase I United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) research grants for the application of laser technology to agricultural problems. Ekips is developing disease detection systems that involve measuring gas phase biomarkers in exhaled breath. In partnership with Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK), Ekips is currently working on an extended Small Business Innovative Research Phase II research program for the initial disease application, bovine respiratory disease. The new Phase I application will expand this work to additional biomarkers associated with infectious diseases.

Ekips also announced another USDA grant supporting the use of laser based instrumentation for cattle feed yard emissions monitoring. The feed yard environmental monitoring project is a collaborative effort with Rice University (Houston, TX).

“Our research partners have developed cost effective laser sensors that we are applying to environmental emissions monitoring applications to assess potentially harmful formation of particulate matter in air,” said Chad Roller, vice president of research at Ekips.

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New CEO: The Board of Directors of II-VI named Francis J. Kramer to succeed Carl J. Johnson as CEO of the company, effective July 1, 2007. Johnson will remain an executive of the company, serving as its Chairman of the Board. Kramer has spent more than two decades at II-VI after joining the vompany in 1983 as Vice President and General Manager of Manufacturing. He was named Executive Vice President and General Manager of Manufacturing in 1984 until he was promoted again in 1985 to President and COO. He will continue to serve as President in addition to CEO.

Strategic suppliers: Aurora Systems (Westlake Village, CA), a leader in the design and production of high performance LCOS microdisplay products, and HOLOEYE Systems (Laguna Hills, CA), integrators of microdisplay technology, have formed a strategic supply agreement to serve specialty markets. ASI will provide LCOS products for consumer electronic applications, while HSI will market Aurora products to specialty applications such as defense, biotech, and industrial applications. HSI will use its expertise to address a wide range of applications such as head-mounted displays, head-up fisplays, optical metrology, bio-photonics, and optical networking applications. HSI has also been instrumental in the joint development of phase modulating LCOS microdisplays for use in phase shifting applications such as dynamic diffractive optics and digital holography.

Education grant: SPIE (Bellingham, WA) recently awarded a $3000 grant to the New England Board of Higher Education’s (NEBHE) Project PHOTON2, a curriculum and professional development venture funded by the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). SPIE has been an active partner with NEBHE, providing services and activities that support the more than 30 high schools and colleges nationwide that are part of Project PHOTON2. With an emphasis on two-year colleges, the ATE program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that help drive the nation’s economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions and employers to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary school levels.

Development contract: General Dynamics Land Systems (Sterling Heights, MI) has awarded Lytron (Woburn, MA) the design and development contract for the U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) Propulsion Heat Exchanger Packs (PHEP). FCS is the Army’s premier modernization program, comprising a networked family of unmanned air vehicles and sensors, and both manned and unmanned ground vehicles that will enable soldiers to perform their missions safely and more effectively. The PHEP will provide liquid cooling to the MGV propulsion system and electronics. The heat exchangers will leverage Lytron’s standard plate-fin heat exchanger technologies. The PHEP contract is valued at over $1 million.

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