News Briefs

SWIR contract: Alion Science and Technology (White Plains, NY), on behalf of the U.S. Army RDECOM CERDEC Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, awarded the night vision division of ITT Corporation a contract to develop next-generation night vision technology. The contract funds engineering and initial prototypes of helmet-mounted systems that will combine image intensified, short-wave infrared (SWIR) and long-wave infrared (LWIR) imagery for display to the user. ITT Night Vision (Roanoke, VA), is a developer, producer, and supplier of Generation 3 image intensifier technology for U.S. and allied military forces as well as the homeland security market. The company has provided premier night vision solutions to the U.S. military for more than 45 years.

Spectrometer on a bus: Thermo Fisher Scientific (Waltham, MA) completed a custom installation of its TSQ Quantum triple quadrupole mass spectrometer in a mobile laboratory operating on a bus. The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks in Quebec, Canada uses the system to perform real-time, mobile analysis of organic and inorganic environmental contaminants in the air, ground and water. The TSQ Quantum was chosen because it met the Ministry’s stringent requirements for limits of detection in the order of microgram per cubic meter, even in real time. Phytronix engineered a stabilization table to dampen motion so the TSQ Quantum can analyze samples while the bus is on the road.

Optical networking market high: Ovum RHK (London, England) announced its preliminary quarterly results and the global optical networking market reached a new post-2001 high of $4.4 billion in 4Q07, for a 16% sequential and 30% year-over-year gain. “The blockbuster results for 4Q07, led by Alcatel-Lucent’s and Huawei’s never-before-seen $1 billion and $800 million revenue postings, respectively, pushed annual spending to $15 billion,” said Ovum’s VP Optical Networking, Dana Cooperson. Spending on next-gen multi-service SDH/SONET gear rose to a new post-bubble high of nearly $1.9 billion for the quarter versus a new high of $0.9 billion for metro DWDM. “Contrary to popular myth that has Ethernet delivering a swift and decisive death blow to SDH/SONET, a range of applications will continue to exist for SONET/SDH-based devices in evolving networks,” added Cooperson.

Fiber replaces copper: Zarlink Semiconductor (Ottawa, ON, Canada) is the first vendor to support volume production of active optical cables for data center and computer cluster interconnect applications and has shipped over 10,000 cables to a range of select customers, including major data center operators as well as InfiniBand and Ethernet switch vendors and system integrators. These cables offer significant weight, flexibility, and reach advantages to improve airflow, eliminate layout concerns and reduce installation time and costs versus copper-based solutions.

ROADM partnership: Finisar Corporation (Sunnyvale, CA), a provider of fiber-optic solutions for high-speed networks, and Nistica (Bridgewater, NJ), a supplier of agile optical modules, announced a partnership to provide FLEDGE reconfigurable add/drop optical multiplexers (ROADMs) to telecom system companies in Europe, China and North America utilizing Finisar’s global sales channels. In a separate announcement by Nistica, Finisar participated in a $9 Million Series B funding round for the three-year-old New Jersey company. This strategic investment by Finisar, the company says, affirms its commitment to providing customers with leading-edge technology for an evolving optical communications market.

Fiber manufacturing inauguration: After several months of assembling and testing, the Institut für Strahlwerkzeuge (IFSW) Universität Stuttgart started the regular operation of its new fiber drawing tower. The complete facility was inaugurated on March 3rd in an opening event of the Stuttgart Laser Technology Forum SLT 2008. The installation of the fiber manufacturing facility—consisting of an MCVD preform production lathe and the now commissioned drawing tower—was financed half by federal and half by state funds and was also appreciably supported by the university building authority. With the new equipment the IFSW will develop beam-delivery fibers for flexible transmission of high-power and high-brilliance laser radiation.

Tenth anniversary: TOPTICA (Munich, Germany) celebrates its 10th anniversary on April 17, 2008. Although TOPTICA was not started in the often-quoted garage, it was an empty apartment suite situated in an old industrial building next to TuiLaser AG. Equipped with vague expectations about their first product and a project of the German government, Wilhelm Kaenders and Thomas Weber started the development and manufacturing of scientific grating-stabilized diode lasers. It was February 17, 1998, the hour of birth for TuiOptics GmbH, the legal forerunner entity to TOPTICA.

Today, TOPTICA has more than 80 employees, a wholly owned subsidiary in the U.S., and an average growth rate of 25% per year. Core markets are still quantum optics and spectroscopy, THz generation, ultrafast applications, biophotonics, inspection, and optical data storage.

Semiconductor metrology program: Rudolph Technologies (Flanders, NJ), a provider of process characterization equipment and software for thin-film measurement and macro defect inspection, and SEMATECH (Albany, NY), a consortium of chipmakers, announced that Rudolph has become the first semiconductor equipment supplier company to join SEMATECH’s Metrology Program headquartered at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany. Under the membership agreement, Rudolph and SEMATECH will jointly establish an International Process Characterization (IPC) program, aimed at the development of process, analysis, and characterization technology to address critical challenges in nanoelectronics research.

Corning Student Award: Corning (Corning, NY) and the OSA Foundation (Washington, DC) announced the winner of the inaugural Corning Outstanding Student Paper Award Competition, which recognizes future leaders in optical communications. Frederik Van Laere, Ghent University-IMEC, Belgium was awarded top honors for his paper, “Multifunctional Photonic Crystal Compact Demux-Detector on InP.” The $1,500 award and $1,000 honorable mentions were formally bestowed during the post-deadline paper session at the OFC/NFOEC 2008 conference in San Diego, CA. Chosen from 410 entries, Van Laere’s paper was singled out from a number of high-quality papers submitted by internationally renowned colleges and universities.

Canadian foundry funding: The Canadian government has invested an additional $22.3 million in the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC; Ottawa, ON, Canada), a pure-play semiconductor foundry serving the photonics industry in Canada and around the world. This funding extends the initial $43 million used to build and equip the CPFC, which announced in 2005. This new funding will enhance the service offering of CPFC to the photonics industry, and ensure the CPFC stays at the forefront of photonics fabrication and manufacturing. The CPFC has attracted more than $10 million in venture financing for three of its startup clients, among other accomplishments.

People in the news: nLIGHT (Lohja, Finland) has named Heikki Ihalainen, a veteran in the fiber optic industry, as general manager of its Fiber Division in Lohja. Ihalainen was most recently with Nextrom Oy, a fiber optic equipment manufacturer, and spent 13 years in fiber development and manufacturing with Nokia Cables and NK Communications.

Powerlase (Crawley, England), manufacturer of nanosecond Q-switched diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers, appointed Matt Kelly as head of engineering and operations. Kelly will oversee all engineering projects with clients in South Korea and the U.S., as well as the development of Powerlase’s lasers. Previously Kelly held a number of positions at Powerlase, including engineering manager and mechanical design engineer.

Deposition Sciences, Inc. (DSI; Santa Rosa, CA), manufacturer of thin-film optical coatings, appointed Ken Kino as its new West coast sales engineer. Kino is a veteran of over 20 years in the optics industry and has a BS degree in mechanical engineering from San Jose State University. Most recently, he was the key account manager for the commercial laser division at JDS Uniphase.

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