News Briefs

Dec. 15, 2008
Lasers & Photonics Marketplace: Dr. Thomas Baer, executive director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center (SPRC; Stanford, CA) and a major figure in the photonics community, will be the keynote speaker at Laser Focus World’s Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar 2009.

Lasers & Photonics Marketplace: Dr. Thomas Baer, executive director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center (SPRC; Stanford, CA) and a major figure in the photonics community, will be the keynote speaker at Laser Focus World’s Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar 2009. The Seminar will also feature “The Greening of Photonics” Technology Forum, with presentations on solid-state lighting, photovoltaics, and laser-based sensors used for environmental monitoring.

The 2009 Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar, to be held on Monday, January 26, 2009 in conjunction with SPIE’s Photonics West conference (San Jose, CA; January 24 to 29), is the only event anywhere that focuses on the entire laser marketplace; its coverage extends to the rest of the photonics industry as well.

Nearly every aspect of the photonics industry is “green” today, with a heavy emphasis on environmentally sustainable processes and products. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are penetrating the lighting market, organics LEDs (OLEDs) are making a splash in displays, photovoltaics continue to make advances in on-par fossil-fuel performance, and even laser fission/fusion is looking at becoming a viable long-term energy source. This year’s Technology Forum includes presentations from Daylight Solutions (Poway, CA) on optical sensors for environmental monitoring, from Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA) on solid-state lighting prospects and challenges, and Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) explores the world of laser processing for solar cells. Visit

Obama eyes Nobel Prize winner: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is expected to select laser expert and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu as his energy secretary, according to an article in The New York Times. Chu is director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is scheduled to deliver a plenary at this year’s inaugural OPTOmism conference in May.

Chu has sponsored research into biofuels and solar energy and has been a strong advocate of controlling greenhouse gas emissions. At OPTOmism, Chu will be speaking about technology, policy, and climate change. “The transition to sustainable energy systems is imperative,” said Chu. “Photonics is one of the key technologies that we should embrace.”

OPTOmism will focus on photonic products for green technology and is being co-founded by the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA) and Pennwell Corporation (Tulsa, OK). The event will be held in Santa Clara, CA, May 18-20, 2009 (see

Chu will be taking on one of the most challenging jobs in government at the Department of Energy. He will be responsible for the maintenance and development of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, as well as for modernizing the nation’s electrical power delivery system. He will also play a central role in directing the research and development of alternative energy sources needed to replace fossil fuels in an era of constrained carbon emissions.

U.K. direct sales: Bookham (San Jose, CA) launched direct sales operations into the U.K. and Irish markets for its New Focus photonic tools and solutions division. The new sales channel, which was previously operated via distributors, will be managed by the local Bookham U.K. sales team. The New Focus product portfolio includes tunable and fixed wavelength lasers, position-sensitive detectors, actuators, and optics and optomechanics for precision measurement. Bookham will retain its current network of distributors for New Focus and thin-film filter products throughout Europe.

e-Paper licensing agreement: Nemoptic (Magny les Hameaux, France), an e-Paper display company, and Seiko Instruments (Chiba, Japan) entered into an agreement under which Nemoptic will license its bistable nematic (BiNem) technology to Seiko. This latest deal complements an existing subcontracting agreement the two companies signed in April 2007, which enables Nemoptic to source BiNem modules for its own sales activity. BiNem technology enhances existing LCD technologies with memory effect and superior image quality, meaning its displays have the ability to retain data and images on a screen without using power. Energy is required only when changing the screen’s content. Unlike other bistable technologies, BiNem is compatible with existing LCD processes. Seiko is currently preparing its front-end factory in Japan and back-end factory in China to start producing e-paper displays at a rate of 100,000 per month.

Discovery Channel’s high-speed camera: Photron (San Diego, CA) is supplying the high-speed Fastcam SA1 camera for the slow-motion imaging of fascinating phenomena, animal behavior, and human feats on Discovery Channel’s new television series, Time Warp. Photron has teamed with co-hosts Jeff Lieberman, an MIT scientist and teacher, and digital photography expert Matt Kearney of Tech Imaging Services (Salem, MA). The slow-motion camera offers super-fast frame rates, capable of broadcasting high resolution, high definition TV (HDTV) up to 5400 frames per second. Time Warp uses advanced imaging technologies to present everyday activities and extraordinary human achievements or other phenomena such as a samurai sword slicing through a tatami mat, and much more.

Japanese fiber laser distributor: Visible and ultraviolet fiber laser manufacturer Mobius Photonics (Santa Clara, CA) signed Kantum Electronics (Tokyo, Japan) to distribute its products in Japan. In addition to serving Mobius’s growing Japanese client roster, Kantum will provide applications laboratory capabilities, service, and support throughout the country. “Japanese companies were the first to qualify Mobius laser systems and they continue to work with us in growing numbers,” said Laura Smoliar, CEO of Mobius Photonics. “Kantum Electronics now provides a local presence for our current clients and a resource for companies seeking innovative scalable visible- and UV-modular light sources.”

Industrial physics award: Wyatt Technology Corporation (Santa Barbara, CA), provider of molecular and nanoparticle characterization products, announced that Philip J. Wyatt, its CEO and founder, was awarded the 2009 Prize for Industrial Application of Physics by the American Physical Society (APS). By leading the commercialization of laser light scattering, a technology of practical importance for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries as well as numerous academic research programs, Wyatt was selected to receive the prize sponsored by the General Motors Corporation and established by the Executive Board of the American Physical Society to acknowledge industrial applications of physics with an intention to publicize the value of physics for industrial development.

Quality award: Novaled (Dresden, Germany), supplier of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) for lighting and display products, received the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) award for its global quality achievements. Novaled joined the EFQM organization in 2006 in its permanent approach towards business excellence. The whole company has been mobilized during 2008 to improve further the quality of its organization for a better service towards its customers. The EFQM Excellence Model was introduced in 1992 as the framework for assessing European companies and organizations for their global quality policy and has become the basis for the majority of national and regional Quality Awards.

Undersea optical fiber anniversary: In December 1988, the first fiber-optic cable to cross an ocean came into service. Code named TAT-8 for Trans-Atlantic Telephone cable number 8, this fiber-optic submarine cable connected the U.S. with France and the U.K and this month, celebrates its 20-year anniversary. The project cost $351 million and was managed by AT&T, British Telecom, and France Telecom on behalf of a consortium of over 20 major international telecommunications companies. Today, about 1 million kilometers of fiber-optic submarine cables, most with a diameter no larger than a garden hose, link the international community.

New measurement laboratory: An $11 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will help the University of California, Berkeley, build a precision measurement laboratory in the planned new home for the astronomy department and part of the physics department. The new facility will be called the Center for Integrated Precision and Quantum Measurement (CIPQM); research to be conducted includes the application of atomically-resolved microscopy; quantum nanomechanics; interferometry with ultracold atoms; and advanced optical metrology techniques at the nanoscale. The 10,000-square-ft. space will comprise 10–15 modular laboratories that could house researchers from a range of disciplines, including physics, electrical engineering, chemistry, and molecular and cell biology.

People in the news: Jürg Fedier was appointed CFO of Oerlikon Group (Pfäffikon, Switzerland), provider of industrial technologies for textile manufacture, thin-film solar and thin-film coating, drive, and vacuum systems. Fedier’s last position was Group CFO at Ciba and started his profession at Dow Chemical in Horgen, Switzerland in 1978.

Semiconductor equipment manufacturer SUSS MicroTec (Garching, Germany) appointed Frank Averdung to its management board; Averdung has accepted the appointment and will ultimately assume the role of CEO. Averdung is currently managing director of Carl Zeiss Semiconductor Metrology Systems (Jena, Germany).

Stephen Sweeney joined photonics and spectroscopy company ZiNIR (Eastbourne, England) as CTO. He was previously lead scientist and group manager for Laser and Amplifier Technology at Marconi Optical Components.

Imaging and software company FARO Technologies (Lake Mary, FL) named international metrology expert Gary Telling as one of its business development directors. Telling, a 32-year veteran of the automotive industry, built his reputation through his groundbreaking work at General Motors. Most recently, Telling served as GM’s Advanced Global Metrology Lead for five years and developed business cases for the company’s metrology strategies and implemented new technologies.

Cooling systems and components company Lytron (Woburn, MA) promoted Craig Carswell to president and CEO. Carswell joined Lytron in 1997 as an engineer and held numerous positions at the company, including manufacturing engineer, systems engineering manager, and VP of operations.

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