News Briefs

US adaptive optics office: Imagine Optic (Orsay, France and Boston, MA), manufacturer of wavefront metrology and adaptive optics technology, has opened a new office at the Cambridge Innovation Center in the heart of Boston’s optics cluster. In addition to this reinforced presence in the US, the company has equally entered into two new distribution partnerships with BNT in California and ESDI in Arizona. “Establishing a permanent presence in the US is key to showing our commitment to offer the highest quality products, services and support to our US customers,” says Samuel Bucourt, CEO and co-founder of Imagine Optic. Since the opening of their new offices in Boston in 2006, the company’s US sales figures have more than doubled.

Larger laser facility: Aculight (Bothell, WA) moved into new corporate headquarters, increasing its floor space by 60% over its previous facility and consolidating its staff into one building. The move accommodates the company’s growth over the past several years and enhances its manufacturing capabilities. The new facility is located just two miles from the previous Aculight location and has approximately 50,000 square feet of combined office, laboratory, and manufacturing space. Some of the products that Aculight will produce there include Perseus pulsed fiber lasers, Argos optical parametric oscillators, and Capella optical neural stimulators.

Optical component collaboration: NanoOpto Corporation (Somerset, NJ), which applies proprietary nano-fabrication technology to produce high-quality, low-cost optical components and systems, and Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM; Tokyo, Japan), manufacturer of optical isolators and related components for fiber optic network applications, are collaborating on the development of new, integrated telecommunications components-primarily packaged optical isolators and custom wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) filters with small footprints. These new components enable triple-play (voice, data, and video) services through fiber infrastructure and end-user premise equipment. Products resulting from the SMM and NanoOpto relationship will be generally available during 2007.

New Board member: Stephan Guerin has joined the Board of Directors of Enablence Technologies (Ottawa, ON, Canada), a developer of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) transceivers for optical modems. Guerin was one of the seven members of the Alcatel Alsthom Group Executive Committee, responsible for the telecommunications, transportation, energy, industrial controls, and media groups with a global work force of 220,000 in 120 different countries. As VP of Mergers and Acquisitions for the Alcatel Alsthom group, he was responsible for the negotiation and implementation of major mergers including ITT, Rockwell Telecom, and STC submarine, and was also responsible for developing international strategic alliances and played a key role in establishing the Alcatel Alsthom group in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, and India.

LCD expertise and new catalog: Meadowlark Optics (Frederick, CO) has added Jay Ahling to its engineering development group. Ahling brings years of liquid crystal device (LCD) design, development, and process optimization to Meadowlark. Prior to joining Meadowlark Optics, Ahling worked with Planar-Standish and Syntax-Brillian on liquid crystal on silicon microdisplay technologies. As senior manufacturing engineer, Ahling will continue his work on LCD manufacturing improvements, metrology, and qualification. Meadowlark Optics also announced the release of Transitions, their 2007-08 Polarization Handbook, a new product catalog that provides detailed descriptions and specifications for Meadowlark’s polarizers, retarders, attenuators, and polarization rotators, as well as system-level polarimeters, spatial light modulators, and new tunable optical filters.

Canadian camera contract: Obzerv Technologies (Quebec, QC, Canada) was awarded a nearly $550,000 dollar contract by DRDC (Defense Research and Development Canada) to develop and integrate an active-range-gated camera payload into a multispectral imaging turret. This contract is a part of the AIMS (Advanced Integrated Multi-Sensing Surveillance) TDP (Technology Demonstration Project) that covers improvement of tactical surveillance and sensing capabilities for the Canadian Forces. Compared to thermal cameras based on the temperature contrast of objects, Obzerv cameras collect the reflection of a laser pulse from the target and allow object identification at ranges beyond 10 km and through mist and fog.

Fiber laser litigation: IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA) and Newport (Irvine, CA) have settled patent infringement claims made against IPG Photonics by Spectra-Physics, a subsidiary of Newport, as well as IPG Photonics’ counterclaims against Spectra-Physics, by mutual agreement. Terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed. IPG Photonics does not expect the agreement to have a material impact on its financial statements or condition. The settlement related to a complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in June 2006 by Spectra-Physics alleging that certain of IPG Photonics’ optical fiber laser and amplifier products infringed a U.S. patent owned by Spectra-Physics. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, this case has been dismissed with prejudice.

Expanded Asian presence: Edmund Industrial Optics (EO; Barrington, NJ) is making significant new investments to expand its manufacturing and customer support presence in Japan and the Asian markets by its purchase of a substantial stake in Saito Optics of Akita, Japan. EO and Saito have had a long history of collaboration, with Saito as a local manufacturer supplying EO with high-precision spherical optics. The two companies have also collaborated in jointly developed new manufacturing technologies. EO management is now directing the Saito plant and has plans to make significant improvements in the technology, equipment, and staffing during 2007.

OLED display contract: The U.S. Display Consortium (USDC; San Jose, CA), an industry-led public/private partnership providing a forum for flat-panel display manufacturers and developers, FPD users, and the supplier base, and Plextronics (Pittsburgh, PA), a developer of active layer technology for printed electronic devices, announced that Plextronics has received Phase II funding of a $1.8 million contract. This contract supports the continued development of Plexcore technology to increase the lifetime and efficiency of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. The USDC and Plextronics will continue to share the costs associated with the project. The objective of Phase II is to expand Plexcore HIL development to enable commercial performance of small molecule OLED (SMOLED) displays.

Nano institute gets microscopes: The California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has purchased $1.7 million of atomic force and scanning probe microscope systems (AFM/SPMs) and optical profilers for use in the institute’s multi-user core laboratories performing nanoscience research from Veeco Instruments (Woodbury, NY). The fourth quarter 2006 order included Veeco’s new “high value/low cost” Caliber SPM, a Dimension 5000 high performance AFM, and a Wyko NT 9300 high performance Optical Profiler. In addition, the CNSI is the first customer to purchase Veeco’s new, integrated, BioScope II Confocal AFM Package, which features open optical and physical integration between a laser scanning confocal microscope and an AFM, ideal for versatile biological imaging applications.

Optical networking revenues up: Transmode (Stockholm, Sweden), a provider of coarse and dense wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) optical network solutions, announced a record year for sales during 2006 with an increase in excess of 150%. Sales were primarily driven by a strong demand for optical networks for voice, broadband and TV services. The company’s turnover exceeded $50 million. “Our customer base has also increased by over 40 percent during the period,” said Rune Hurtig, CEO at Transmode. According to industry analyst firm Infonetics, Transmode was ranked within the top 5 metro WDM vendors in the EMEA region throughout 2006, ranking the company amongst international giants such as Alcatel-Lucent and Nortel.

OSA selects Advocate of Optics: The Optical Society of America (OSA; Washington, DC) is recognizing New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman as its 2007 Advocate of Optics. According to the OSA, Sen. Bingaman was selected because of his extraordinary leadership in seeking to increase federal investments in the sciences and to advance energy efficiency through his continued support for energy-saving optical technologies like solid-state lighting. “Senator Jeff Bingaman has shown tremendous commitment to advancing important science policy initiatives in the past year and throughout his career as a public official,” said OSA executive director Elizabeth Rogan. “His support of scientific R&D funding and alternative energy legislation has had a positive impact on influencing energy policy designed to make the U.S. more energy independent.”

Lithography engineers wanted: ASML Holding NV (ASML; Tempe, AZ) announced that it plans to hire approximately 100 new employees by the end of the year in the US. As the company continues to grow in the semiconductor lithography industry, ASML seeks talented engineers and technicians to fill design engineering, customer support, and other positions; ASML’s US recruitment is part of a larger global program that will hire approximately 500 new employees worldwide by the end of this year. ASML plans to add new positions to the following areas: Wilton, CT; Manassas, VA; Richmond, CA; Albany, NY; Santa Clara, CA; San Jose, CA; Lehi, UT; and Tempe, AZ. Interested engineers should visit www.careers.asml.com to get a behind-the-scenes view of the company’s technology operations.

Laser career center: The Laser Institute of America (LIA; Orlando, FL) has launched the LIA Career Center (careers.laserinstitute.org), a new online resource designed to help you find the best job opportunities in the laser technology industry. The new LIA Career Center provides free and confidential resume posting to make your resume available to employers in the industry, confidentially if you choose. You can quickly and easily find relevant industry job listings and sign up for automatic email notification of new jobs that match your criteria. You can apply online and create a password-protected account for managing your job search and can save up to 100 jobs to a folder in your account so you come back to apply when you are ready.

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