New laser award: The European Laser Institute (ELI; www.europeanlaserinstitute.org) and the Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e.V. are introducing a new bi–annual innovation award in 2008 (www.innovation–award–laser.org). The award is open to both individuals and groups of researchers that have developed significant laser technology. The successful application will receive a fellowship and a monetary prize to the value of 10,000 Euros. Closing date for the 2008 competition is February 1, 2008, and the winner will be presented with the award during the AKL International Laser Congress in Aachen, Germany from May 7–9, 2008. By working in close collaboration with existing national and international organizations, the ELI helps to influence R&D policy on a national and European level, as well as foster an environment for technology transfer.
New CEO: Optical engineering and software firm Breault Research Organization (BRO; Tucson, AZ) announced that Kevin Garcia, 45, will be the company’s new CEO effective January 2nd, 2008.
Garcia has 22 years of optical–engineering experience in the commercial, industrial, and aerospace markets on a wide range of optical–design and analysis projects. From automotive–lighting to zoom–lens designs, Garcia has supported engineering projects at companies large and small and as diverse as Eastman Kodak, TRW, Xerox Corporation, and BRO. He previously held senior optical engineer and director of engineering positions at BRO.
U.S. operations open: Light Blue Optics (Cambridge, England), developer of holographic laser projection technology, announced the opening of its U.S. operations with an engineering and business development facility in Colorado Springs, CO. The news follows LBO’s closure of a $26 million Series A funding round in October 2007 and will further accelerate its product development and commercialization program to bring its miniature projection systems to high–volume markets.
David Bolt recently joined LBO as the VP of Engineering, responsible for all product engineering activities, and Edward Buckley was promoted to VP of business development, responsible for all business development activities in North America and Asia. Bolt and Buckley will be based in Colorado Springs.
Center of excellence opens: The Leica Geosystems (Norcross, GA) “Geomatics Center of Excellence” opened in Houston, TX to offer sales, support, and service for all Leica Geosystems surveying, hi–definition laser scanning products, and reference station network infrastructures for spatial mapping and imaging. Bill Beam, plant sales executive for the Western U.S. for Leica Geosystems said, “Through the Center, we have a unique opportunity to work hand in hand with surveyors and engineers in Texas and surrounding states. We are looking forward to sharing our knowledge and pioneering the latest technology advancements in the surveying and laser scanning fields.”
FPA contract award: Princeton Lightwave (PLI; Cranbury, NJ), manufacturer of optical semiconductor components and sub–systems, was awarded a two–year, $3.5 million dollar contract for the development of focal plane arrays (FPAs) with single–photon sensitivity for use in three–dimensional (3–D) imaging systems. For this program, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), PLI will develop FPA modules which employ indium–phosphide–based Geiger–mode avalanche photodiodes (GmAPDs) to achieve single–photon sensitivity and perform time–of–flight ranging measurements on a per–pixel basis. These modules are intended for use as the optical engines at the core of 3–D imaging flash laser detection and ranging systems such as those demonstrated in DARPA’s Jigsaw program.
Online laser safety course: Laser Institute of America (LIA; Orlando, FL) is now offering training for the laser safety officer over the Internet in online course format. The Laser Safety Officer online course is a non–mathematical approach designed to teach the administrative duties of the Laser Safety Officer as described in the ANSI Z136.1 Safe Use of Lasers standard. Information on lasers and optics, bioeffects, beam and non–beam hazards, control measures and training requirements are covered. Emphasis is placed on laser safety program development and administration. For more information, visit www.laserinstitute.org.
New catalogs: Edmund Optics’ (Barrington, NJ) new 404–page catalog and Master Source Book covers over 15,000 industrial optical components and instruments including 2,360 new optics and photonics advances. The new volume also offers 41 sections of application guides and technical articles.
Also, Semrock (Rochester, NY) announced the release of its new 64–page full–color 2008 optical filter catalog. This latest catalog presents seven product families, and introduces more than 70 new optical filter products for applications ranging from fluorescence instrumentation and microscopy to Raman spectroscopy and other laser analytical instrumentation, augmented by a series of 22 tutorial notes. The catalog accompanies Semrock’s announcement of a five–year warranty for its catalog products.
Injection–molded optics: G–S Plastic Optics (GSPO; Rochester, NY) acquired the tooling to produce the “Standard” and “Apex” lines of injection–molded optics from 3M Precision Optics in Cincinnati, OH. GSPO, having an extensive line of molded optics available directly through its catalog, said this acquisition not only complements the existing product offering but allows customers the opportunity to source a very wide range of molded aspheric optics all from the GSPO Web site.
William Beich, director of new business development at GSPO says, “Engineers responsible for sourcing polymer optics will be able to reduce their lead–time and cost while at the same time benefit from having a wide selection of precision molded optics available to them.”
Green laser grant: Physics professor Fernando Ponce of the Center for Nanophotonics (part of the Arizona Institute for Nano–Electronics at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ) was awarded a three–year, $800,000 DARPA grant to conduct research on green lasers. The grant is part of the ‘Visible InGaN Injection Laser’ (VIGIL) program, managed by Henryk Temkin (an electrical engineering professor at Texas Tech), which aims to develop lasers based on InGaN/GaN systems operating at wavelengths equal to or longer than 500 nm. Injection lasers based on InGaN/GaN with emission in the 400 nm spectral region have been developed for commercial applications, primarily information storage and retrieval. However, extension of the emission wavelength to the blue and green regions of the visible spectrum has been challenging.
Laser–leveling acquisition: Bosch (Stuttgart, Germany) acquired the assets of RoboToolz, headquartered in Hong Kong. RoboToolz manufactures leveling–laser products, with four locations: two in China (Hong Kong and Dong Guan), and one each in the U.S. (Mountain View, CA) and Germany (Munich). In 2006, the company and its roughly 250 associates generated sales of some $11 million dollars. Bosch is a leading supplier in the measuring–tools growth segment for do–it–yourselfers (DIYs) and professionals. Bosch offers professional users a product range that includes the world’s smallest laser measuring device. Bosch was also the first company to successfully introduce a laser measuring device in the European DIY market.
Spectrometer contract: McPherson (Chelmsford, MA), a manufacturer of instrumentation for measuring wavelengths of light, received a contract from WaferMasters (San Jose, CA), a manufacturer of thermal processing tools used to fabricate advanced semiconductor devices. Under this contract, McPherson assisted with design, fabricated, and delivered very high resolution visible–light spectrometers. WaferMasters uses the McPherson spectrometers for diverse measurements of processed semiconductor wafers and to more tightly control the characteristics of the silicon end–product.
Infringement lawsuit: Wyatt Technology Corporation (Santa Barbara, CA), provider of instruments for absolute macromolecular characterization, announced the filing of its lawsuit against Malvern Instruments in the U.K., a wholly–owned subsidiary of Spectris. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, requests the Federal Court to halt further infringement of Wyatt’s copyrighted software and other materials by its competitor Malvern Instruments. Wyatt also seeks damages for false advertising by Malvern who is allegedly using third party test data to promote their Zetasizer Nano Systems. Philip Wyatt, Chairman and CEO of Wyatt said, “I am particularly surprised and saddened that a subsidiary of so distinguished a British firm would so blatantly ignore U.S. and California laws regarding our protected materials.”