Laser projection funding: Light Blue Optics (LBO; Cambridge, England), developer of holographic laser projection technology, closed a $26 million Series ‘A’ funding round following its release of engineering samples to key customers and strategic development partners from July 2007. The money will enable LBO to accelerate its product development and commercialization program towards the high-volume manufacture of miniature projection systems for deployment in a range of markets. LBO estimates the total available market for miniature projection systems will exceed $5 billion by 2012. 3i director Stephen Lowery said, “This $26 million investment is one of the most significant European Series ‘A’ investments in the last five years. Having supported the Company since its seed round, we are delighted to demonstrate our continued support with this additional investment.”
Uranium laser enrichment: GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has announced the signing of non-binding letters of intent with the two largest nuclear utilities in the U.S.-Exelon and Entergy-to contract for uranium enrichment services from GEH which is currently working to commercialize the next-generation Silex Systems’ (New South Wales, Australia) Laser Enrichment Technology, now known as “Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) Technology.” Following the signing of a commercialization and license agreement between Silex and GE in 2006, GEH is presently accelerating development activities in preparation for future production of enriched uranium fuel for use in commercial nuclear power reactors.
New U.S. ultrafast laser office: Amplitude Systemes (Bordeaux, France) and Amplitude Technologies (Evry, France) have created a new U.S.-based subsidiary called Amplitude Laser. Headquartered in Boston, MA and with an office in San Diego, CA, Amplitude Laser will provide sales and service support to the whole North American territory. Amplitude Systemes develops and manufactures diode-pumped ultrafast solid-state lasers for scientific and industrial applications, and specializes in Ytterbium lasers, high-power diode-pumped ultrafast amplifiers, microJoule-level diode-pumped femtosecond oscillators, and ultra-high energy Ti:Sapphire ultrafast lasers. Robert Braunschweig has been appointed U.S. sales manager in charge of Amplitude Systemes’ products. Braunschweig has extensive experience in the laser industry in the scientific and OEM business.
Lasers in flow cytometry: The first application of optical supercontinuum lasers in flow cytometry was reported in a recent Nature publication by researchers at National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the U.S. National Institute of Health. The experiments were conducted using Fianium’s (Southampton, England) SC450 white-light source based on an ultrafast high-power fiber laser integrated with photonic crystal fiber. “Even the most modern cytometers typically provide for not more than four laser wavelengths,” said William Telford, research scientist at NCI. “This is largely due to limited selection of wavelengths available with existing laser technology. Supercontinuum white light lasers provide wavelengths that are difficult to produce using traditional technologies, allowing virtually any fluorophore to be analyzed by flow cytometry.”
Integrated O/E sources: Alcatel-Lucent announced new breakthroughs in optical networks with three post-deadline papers at the European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication (ECOC) in Berlin, Germany, held September 16-20. On the receiver side, Alcatel-Lucent researchers in Bell Labs’ Crawford Hill, NJ facility demonstrated a novel compact optoelectronic receiver for differential quadrature phase-shift keying (DQPSK) reception that may ultimately contribute to reducing the cost and size of high-data-rate advanced-modulation-format optical transceivers. On the emitter side, Alcatel-Lucent’s researchers from Alcatel-Thales III-V lab, France, have demonstrated the first integrated version of a laser and an electro-absorption modulator (EML) with a record bandwidth of 60 GHz. Finally, the Alcatel-Thales III-V lab realized a 42 GHz mode-locked laser source with a record wavelength tunability of 16 nm thanks to a new active layer made of quantum dots.
Clean to the nano-particle level: Photonic Cleaning Technologies (Platteville, WI) announces recent distribution agreements in Israel and Japan with Lahat Technologies Ltd. (Tel Aviv and Misgav, Israel) and Hikari Inc. (Tokyo, Japan). Photonic Cleaning Technologies manufactures, sells, and distributes First Contact polymer solutions. First Contact is the only cleaning and protection product that cleans to the nano-particle level and is safe for use on coated optics, crystals, gratings, phase masks, sensors, and more.
360 selects Infinera: 360networks has selected Infinera (Sunnyvale, CA) for its regional network in the western United States. Infinera will bring the speed and flexibility of their Digital Optical Networks to support 360networks’ growing business and service offerings. 360networks selected Infinera because the flexibility of Infinera’s architecture will enable 360networks to offer services cost-effectively in many markets throughout the region, including Tier 1 through 4 cities, thus expanding the potential market for 360networks services. Infinera’s unique digital architecture allows “bandwidth virtualization” whereby optical services, including SONET, Ethernet, 2.5 Gigabit/second (Gb/s) and 10 Gb/s services, and scalable to 40 Gb/s services in the future, can be flexibly and easily delivered without regard to the optical characteristics of underlying wavelengths.
3-D laser scanner installed: Laser Design (Minneapolis, MN), a supplier of three-dimensional (3-D) laser scanners for more than 20 years, announced the sale of an SLP-250 laser scanner to York Technical College in Rock Hill, SC near Charlotte, NC. The York Technical College SLP-250 was retrofitted to a manual Mitutoyo CMM system. “We will use the Laser Design SLP-250 for many operations in our quality inspection lab,” said Tom Dickerson, Manager of the Machine Tool Technology Department. “We will be able to scan intricate parts and use the 3-D data in rapid prototyping, and also rapid manufacturing applications.” York was the first school in South Carolina to be accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS).
O/E assembly plant closing: According to a story in the Milwaukee Business Journal, optoelectronic semiconductor maker Advanced Photonix (Ann Arbor, MI) will close its assembly plant in Dodgeville, WI by the end of the year, putting 31 employees out of work. The company will transfer all operations from the plant to its factory in Camarillo, CA by the end of December. The firm acquired the Dodgeville operation as part of the acquisition of Silicon Sensors LLC in August 2002. Advanced Photonix said it is making the move to adjust production capacity to more appropriately match product demand and customer requirements and improve efficiency, and will take a one-time charge of approximately $520,000 in the second quarter for the closure.
Color/spectral sensor business unit: MAZeT GmbH (Jena, Germany), system house for industrial electronics and JENCOLOR color sensors, launched its new Color and Spectral Sensoring business unit. The newly established product and service division will be headed by Frank Krumbein, who played an important role in introducing and establishing the color sensor division at MAZeT. “By creating this new sensoring unit, we’re underlining our company strategy, which is to offer comprehensive support and advice to our customers from ‘The Experts in Color Technologies’,” said Krumbein. This new Color and Spectral Sensoring division will not just promote product development but will also provide a wide range of customer-specific solutions, particularly for applications where color recognition and color evaluation play a role.
Washington State’s Fast 50: nLIGHT (Vancouver, WA) was named the fastest growing technology company in Washington State in the 2007 Deloitte & Touche USA LLP’s Technology Fast 50 program. The 2006 overall revenue growth average over 2003-2006 for the Washington State Technology Fast 50 companies was 748%. With revenue growth of over 9,232%, nLIGHT earned the honor of being the fastest growing technology company in Washington State. The award is part of the Washington State Technology Fast 50 program, which ranks the 50 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunication, and life sciences companies headquartered in Washington.
Aculight Corporation (Bothell, WA), a leading developer of innovative laser technologies, was also named to Deloitte’s prestigious Technology Fast 50 Program for Washington State. Aculight’s increase in revenues of 125% from 2002 to 2006 resulted in a 32 ranking in the Technology Fast 50 for Washington State. This marks the sixth time that Aculight has made the prestigious list-previous years were 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Aculight’s CEO Don Rich said, “The most important reason for our success has been our people; specifically, the way they have responded to challenges we faced. Every year as you grow, your company is tested and your people are under fire. Every year the challenges involved in continued growth become more difficult, not less. Every year our people stepped up to the challenges, and often exceeded our own high expectations. We have come out more capable of dealing with what we will face next.”