News Briefs

Aug 1st, 2007

New CEO: Alain Couder has been appointed president and CEO of Bookham (San Jose, CA). It is anticipated that he will also be elected to the company’s board of directors. Couder succeeds Peter Bordui, acting president and CEO, who will continue to serve as chairman of the company’s board of directors. Couder was most recently president and CEO of Solid Information Technology, a supplier of database solutions. Prior to joining Solid, Couder served as president and CEO of Confluent Software and IP Dynamics and as chairman and CEO of Packard Bell NEC.

LED lighting: The UK Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (formerly part of Department of Trade and Industry) has helped to enable the formation of a large, vertically integrated consortium to focus on development of energy efficient solid-state light sources based on novel GaN LED chip technology. The £3.3 million (US$4.5 million) research project, which began in March and is code-named NoveLELS, comprises a consortium of nine partners who will collaborate to develop high-efficiency, high-brightness solid-state light sources which will be trialed for use in aircraft cockpits and exterior lighting and consumer LCD devices. The consortium consists of seven companies (Airbus, AgustaWestland, GE Aviation, IQE, Exxelis, Mesophotonics, and Enfis, the project leader) and research groups from the University of Bath and Brunel University. A significant spin-off from the project will be the trial of a new method of GaN-based LED chip production, which is expected to dramatically reduce the cost per lumen of solid-state light sources.

Acquisition complete: CVI (Albuquerque, NM) has completed its acquisition of Melles Griot from Barloworld Scientific. CVI and Melles Griot will operate under a unified management team and do business as CVI Melles Griot, capitalizing on the brand recognition of two industry leaders. With worldwide manufacturing and distribution in Asia, Europe, and North America, the new company is well-positioned to be a global supplier of lasers, optical components, and opto-mechanical assemblies and to bring design, manufacturing, assembly, and testing of photonic products and optical systems together under one roof. Additionally, adding the Melles Griot laser products to the CVI portfolio enables the company to supply highly integrated optical systems and sub-systems to its customers through a strong manufacturing platform.

EUV source: Cymer (San Diego, CA) has been selected by ASML as the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) source supplier for ASML’s EUV scanners for high-volume manufacturing. Cymer has signed a multi-year, multi-unit EUV source agreement with the first shipment scheduled for late 2008. According to the companies, the sources delivered to ASML have the potential to expose 100 wafers/hour, which is required for cost effective EUV chip manufacturing. Cymer has reached all of its EUV power performance milestones using a laser-produced plasma system consisting of multi-staged CO2 laser and tin droplet target that has been in operation since June 2006.

Distribution pact: Photonic Products (Hatfield Broad Oak, UK) and Laser 2000 GmbH have signed an exclusive distribution agreement whereby Laser 2000 will distribute and represent the Photonic Products’ portfolio, including customized and standard design laser diode modules, laser diode assemblies and sub-assemblies, throughout Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. Laser 2000 is one of the largest European sources of photonic-based products for industry and research including laser sources, laser micromachining, laser protection, optics & opto-mechanics, optical instrumentation, image processing, optical transmission systems and digital testing.

LED chip factory: To meet the growing global demands of the burgeoning light-emitting diode market, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors (Santa Clara, CA) has broken ground in Penang, Malaysia on what the company says will be the world’s most advanced LED chip factory. The new 30,000 square meter facility is expected to open in the spring of 2009 and will manufacture, in addition to OSRAM’s main plant in Regensburg, Germany, LED chips with state-of-the-art nitride technology. Additionally, the capacity of the existing LED assembly line in Penang, which began operation in 1972, will be increased by more than 50%.

Ultrafast lasers: Ultrafast-laser developer Raydiance (Petaluma, CA) has entered into a two-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Under the agreement, the FDA will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of Raydiance’s ultrashort-pulse laser platform in laser-tissue interaction studies. The FDA’s research will initially focus on the use of this technology for ophthalmology, light therapy, gene transfection, and dentisty. Barry Schuler, chairman and CEO of Raydiance-and previously CEO of AOL-has taken a very high-profile approach to promoting ultrafast laser technology for a variety of applications; for more on his strategy and predictions about the future of this technology, see the June 4, 2007 issue of BusinessWeek.

Processing partners: Laser Mechanisms (Farmington Hill, MI) has entered into a partnership with Scansonic GmbH to distribute and service its seam-tracking laser welding and brazing systems to the North American Market. According to the companies, Scansonic’s processing heads for automated laser welding and brazing of thin sheet metal are recognized worldwide as cutting-edge manufacturing technology. Founded in 1980, Laser Mechanisms is a recognized leader in the design and manufacture of laser beam delivery components and articulated arm systems for high power CO2, YAG, fiber lasers, and other wavelengths for all facets of industrial applications.

Quantum cryptography: id Quantique (Geneva, Switzerland), a leader in the commercialization of quantum cryptography, and Senetas (Melbourne, Australia), a developer and supplier of high-speed network encryption hardware, have developed a unique hybrid quantum cryptography solution that is now undergoing customer testing in Europe. According to Grégoire Ribordy, CEO of id Quantique, this product, named Cerberis, is generating strong interest, in particular in the banking and finance sector and is presently in test phase with European customers. It currently allows encryption over ATM, Sonet/SDH, and Gigabit Ethernet networks. In addition, the two companies have signed a reseller agreement that allows id Quantique to distribute Senetas’ range of CypherNet high-speed encryptors in selected countries in Europe. They also signed a second broader agreement allowing each partner to resell the jointly developed quantum solution in the countries it covers.

Acquisition: Molex (Lisle, IL) has acquired Polymicro Technologies (Phoenix, AZ). According to Michael Nauman, president, Global Integrated Products Division, Molex, this acquisition will help Molex boost its share of the global fiber optic assemblies market for applications that include medical, military, and telecom. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Polymicro manufactures silica capillary tubing and specialty optical fibers, optical fiber and capillary assemblies, discrete micro components and quartz optical fiber ferrules. Molex is a 69-year-old manufacturer of electronic components, including electrical and fiber optic interconnection products and systems, switches, and integrated products.

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