News Briefs

New business unit: Within its Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis business (LSCA), Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, CA) has created a new Materials Sciences Solutions Unit (MSSU). The MSSU will focus on developing a microscopy and optical spectroscopy business that can be leveraged into the electronics, materials testing, life sciences and chemical analysis markets. Agilent’s Nanotechnology Measurement Division will be transferred to the new unit effective May 1, and the company’s new nanotechnology products, including atomic force microscopy, will be part of the MSSU as well.

40 Gbps partnership: Yokogawa Electric Corporation and Fujitsu Limited (both in Tokyo, Japan) announced the joint development of the world’s first practical 40 Gbps optical transmission technologies using differential quadrature phase shift keying (DQPSK) modulation techniques. The two companies are respectively planning to incorporate the technologies in various new products for 40 Gbps ultra high-speed optical transmission networks. The new technologies were developed under the strategic partnership established between Yokogawa and Fujitsu in March of 2006 to jointly develop core system technologies and key components for ultra high-speed optical transmission systems, and with the cooperation of Fujitsu Laboratories. Sample products were on display at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and the National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC) 2007.

IMRA donates to OSA: The Optical Society of America (OSA) Foundation (Washington, DC) received its largest corporate donation ever from fiber laser manufacturer IMRA America (Ann Arbor, MI). The company’s $10,000 gift will be used to support the Foundation’s programs and initiatives designed to advance youth science education, support optics and photonics education in developing nations, provide education and resources to underserved populations, and support OSA’s Awards and Honors program. More than $153,000 was raised as part of the Foundation’s annual campaign; OSA matched that amount bringing the total raised in 2006 to more than $325,000. In addition to IMRA, other corporate donors included IS&T, General Dynamics, Polaroid Retirees Association, Physical Optics Corporation, Kaiser Optical Systems, Wyatt Technology, ICFO, and LaCroix Optical.

LED agreement: Electronic component distributor Mouser Electronics (Mansfield, TX) has signed a distribution agreement with LedEngin (Santa Clara, CA), a supplier of ultra high brightness light-emitting diode (LED) emitters and light source modules. Products are based on LedEngin’s patented high-power LED packaging technology and are reflow solderable, lead free, and RoHS compliant. “LedEngin is the leading visionary of ultra-bright LED solid-state technology,” said Leonard Livschitz, LedEngin’s VP of sales and marketing. “By teaming up with Mouser Electronics, a leader of optoelectronics distribution sales, we will be able to respond competitively and expeditiously to the unique LED market demands.”

Ultrafast laser distributors: Onefive GmbH (Zurich, Switzerland), a supplier of femtosecond, picosecond, and tunable narrow linewidth laser modules for OEM, medical, environmental and research applications, announced the appointment of M Square Corporation (Tokyo, Japan) as its distributor in Japan for all products, and has also appointed Market Tech (Scotts Valley, CA) as its distributor in North America for all products. According to Onefive, M Square Corporation is a young and self-motivated leading company to introduce advanced optical components, light sources, and photonics components, and Market Tech provides distribution and sales representation for a variety of photonics manufacturers.

Laser diode company financed: SemiNex Corporation (Middleton, MA), a provider of laser diodes for the medical, military, and communications markets, completed funding for its first round of expansion financing, led by the eCoast Angels group. “We are pleased to have the funding to deploy our technology into these broader markets,” said David Bean, president of SemiNex. “We look forward to filling previously unmet needs for high-power lasers at long wavelengths.” SemiNex was founded in 2003 and will use the funding to optimize its laser attributes and packaging to suit the needs of its customers, as well as broadening its customer base. “We are actively working with customers to design SemiNex technology into next-generation systems,” said Bean.

Detector company spinoff: Acreo AB is spinning off its successful infrared detector activity to a separate company, IRnova AB (both in Kista, Sweden). IRnova is based on Acreo’s experience in development and production of quantum well infrared photodetectors (QWIP). IRnova will be owned by Acreo and the employees with Acreo as the major shareholder. Acreo’s QWIP activity has historically had a limited customer base, delivering the major part of its production to the leading company in infrared cameras and systems, FLIR Systems. The production capability was substantially increased during 2005/6 and IRnova is now capable of producing thousands of IR detectors per year.

RoHS-compliant fibers: Sterlite Optical Technologies (Pune, India) announced that its complete range of single-mode and multimode optical fibers were tested by the Institute of Testing & Certification (ITC; Zlín, Czech Republic) and were certified as compliant with the applicable requirements of the European RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) Directive. RoHS is often referred to as the lead-free directive. Sterlite’s core strength lies in its high-technology preform manufacture and high-speed fiber drawing processes, with traceability from raw material to finished product stage. Pankaj Khanna, COO (Telecom) of Sterlite said, “Since the RoHS directive was introduced in mid-2006, we are proud to be among the first manufacturers of optical fibers to receive this certification.”

Organic solar cell grant: Plextronics (Pittsburgh, PA), a developer or active layer technology for electronic devices, was awarded a $340,500 grant from the Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center. This initiative will focus on the continued development of Plexcore PV active layer technology for organic solar cells. Plexcore PV is a new generation of polymer-based semi-conductive inks that increase solar conversion efficiency, while extending the lifetime of the device. “The primary commercialization challenge for organic solar cell technology is achieving the required combination of operating efficiency and device lifetime. Nanotechnology is the key to success,” said Alan Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center.

Expanded laser manufacturing: Universal Laser Systems (ULS; Scottsdale, AZ), a designer and manufacturer of CO2 lasers and computer-controlled CO2 laser engraving, cutting, and marking systems, doubled the size of its U.S.-based headquarters by expanding into a second company-owned building located at 7845 E. Paradise Lane, Scottsdale, AZ. The new facility houses laser system production, sales, marketing, engineering, and technical support staff, as well as warehousing and shipping operations. “With a strong demand for our OEM lasers, it was necessary to accommodate the increased production requirements and also optimize the current building’s space for future expansion of laser production,” said Yefim Sukhman, president and founder of ULS.

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