News Briefs

European presence

Nuvonyx (Bridgeton, MO) has acquired Thales Laser Diode TLD (Paris, France). TLD was a laser division of Thales and has been providing laser diodes to the market place for more than 15 years. As part of the acquisition strategy Nuvonyx will change TLD’s name to Nuvonyx Europe SA.

“This acquisition will allow us to expand our product line to now offer both actively and passively cooled CW and QCW laser diode devices,” said Nuvonyx president and CEO Mark Zediker. “It also provides Nuvonyx an immediate strategic presence in the European market, which is a critical link in our diode component and industrial laser system future growth strategy. The acquisition will benefit Nuvonyx and TLD as well as our customers by increasing market channels and product distribution on a global scale.”

Higher power

A high-energy, solid-state laser developed by Northrop Grumman (Redondo Beach, CA) for the U.S. military has fired one of the most powerful beams yet produced by an electric laser of more than 27 kW with a run time of 350 seconds. In posting those achievements, the company said it surpassed the power and run time requirements of the Joint High Power Solid-State Laser (JHPSSL) Phase 2 demonstration program, a military effort to leap frog speed-of-light technology. In a separate test, the laser demonstrated excellent beam quality at 19 kW, showing how well the beam can be focused and thus get to a target. The JHPSSL program was funded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (Kirtland Air Force Base, NM), and the Office of the Secretary of Defense-Joint Technology Office (Albuquerque, NM).

Rebuilding

A major fire October 30 at Southampton University’s Highfield Campus (Southampton, England) partially destroyed the Mountbatten Building, in particular the area containing the microfabrication facility. The Mountbatten Building houses several laser laboratories and offices for the Optoelectronics Research Centre and the School of Electronics and Computer Science. According to news reports, no one was hurt in the fire but the building was gutted, and It took more than 100 firefighters nearly ten hours to bring the fire under control. Damages are estimated at £50 million (US$88 million). For more details about the extent of the damage and what the university is doing to move forward with various research projects, go to www.orc.soton.ac.uk/news/fire.

Patent license

Unaxis Optics (Balzers, Lichtenstein) and Premier Image Technology Corporation, a digital still camera manufacturer based in Taiwan, have signed a global licensing agreement on patents owned by Unaxis Optics related to ColorWheels and their use in color sequential projectors. The nonexclusive agreement covers Unaxis-owned U.S. patents #6,024,453 and #5,868,482 and corresponding patents in other European and Asian countries either already granted or still pending. ColorWheels are used for all types of sequential color management in multimedia projection systems such as Digital Light Processing technology.

Series A

Luminetx (Memphis, TN), which has developed an IR vein-imaging system dubbed the VeinViewer, has secured $11 million in Series A preferred financing. The funds will help the company ramp up production of the VeinViewer to meet demand for the technology from healthcare centers. In addition, some proceeds are expected to support development efforts of other technologies within the Luminetx portfolio. The company also plans to increase its size in office space and number of employees.

Luminetx began operations in early 2005 with an “angel’’ round of financing that raised $4 million. Since that time, the company has secured patents, begun production, signed distribution agreements and presented at medical trade shows across the country. VeinViewer is a venous imaging system that uses IR light to capture an image of subcutaneous veins, them projects the venous pattern in visible light onto the patient’s skin.

New distributor

nLight (Vancouver, WA), a manufacturer of high-power semiconductor lasers, signed an exclusive agreement with Lastek Group of Companies (Adelaide, South Australia) to distribute its products in Australia and New Zealand. Lastek will be responsible for sales and service of all of nLight’s extensive CW and QCW high-power visible and near-infrared diode laser product lines. Founded in 1988 by company president Alex Stanco, Lastek is a distributor, manufacturer, and exporter of photonics-based research instruments.

In related news,Joseph DeBartolo has joined nLight as vice president of sales and marketing. Prior to joining nLight, DeBartolo was vice president sales and marketing at Digital Optics Corporation.

Patent litigation

Lumileds Lighting (San Jose, CA) has initiated litigation for patent infringement against LED manufacturers Epistar and United Epitaxy Company (UEC). Both Epister and UEC are located in the Hsin-chu Science-based Industrial Park in Taiwan, China, and last August Epistar announced a merger with UEC, slated for completion by the end of this year. Lumileds filed a complaint against both companies at the United States International Trade Commission (ITC; Washington, DC). In that complaint, Lumileds accuses Epistar’s omnidirectional mirror adhesion AlGaInP LED products and UEC’s metal bond and glue bond AlGaInP LED products of infringing one or more of Lumileds’ patents: U.S. Patents #5,008,718, #5,376,580, and #5,502,316. Lumileds seeks an exclusion order barring entry into the United States of the accused LEDs as well as products containing those LEDs.

Lumileds also filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California for patent infringement against UEC and Epistar. In that complaint, Lumileds asserts the same patents against UEC and Epistar as in the ITC litigation. Lumileds seeks both an injunction against future infringement as well as damages, including enhanced damages for willful infringement.

Equity financing

Nanosys (Palo Alto, CA), a privately held company focused on developing nanotechnology-enabled products, has raised approximately $40 million in a private equity financing. This financing was led by El Dorado Ventures and includes new investors Masters Capital, Medtronic, Inc., Wasatch Advisors, and others. In addition, there was strong participation from existing investors including Alexandria Equities, ARCH Venture Partners, CDIB BioScience Ventures, CW Group, Harris & Harris Group, Inc., In-Q-Tel, Intel Capital, H.B. Fuller Company, Lux Capital, Polaris Venture Partners, Prospect Venture Partners, UOB Hermes Asia Technology Fund, and Venrock Associates.

Nanosys will use this funding for the ongoing development and manufacturing scale-up of products that incorporate its proprietary, inorganic nanostructures with integrated functionality for multiple industries. Current product development programs include chemical analysis chips for pharmaceutical drug research, fuel cells for portable electronics, nanostructures for displays and phased array antennas, non-volatile memory for electronic devices, and solid state lighting products.

Optical merger

EMCORE Corporation (Somerset, NJ), a provider of compound semiconductor-based components and subsystems for the broadband, fiber optic, satellite, and wireless communications markets, acquired privately-held Phasebridge (Pasadena, CA), including its specialty products, technologies, and business, through an asset acquisition that closed on November 8. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The Phasebridge operations will be integrated over the next several weeks into the Ortel division of EMCORE, located in Alhambra, CA, and the core group of Phasebridge’s technical and engineering staff has joined EMCORE. EMCORE management anticipates that this transaction will increase its projected fiscal 2006 revenues by approximately $2 million.

Imaging acquisition

Cedip Infrared Systems (Croissy-Beaubourg, France), a global supplier of infrared imaging cameras and systems, has acquired PolyTech AB (Stockholm, Sweden), a manufacturer of gyro-stabilized airborne platforms. The acquisition, details of which were not revealed, marks a further important move for Cedip in their development of IR imaging solutions for military and civilian surveillance markets. Founded in 1990, PolyTech AB has established a strong international reputation as a specialist designer and manufacturer of gyro-stabilised balls and turrets.

Nano investment

Nanoident (Linz, Austria) appointed the Austrian entrepreneur Ulrich Stepski to its Advisory Board. Simultaneously, the Stepski private foundation acquired a substantial share in Nanoident through a private equity placement. Nanoident specializes in the development and production of opto-electronics sensors based on organic semiconductors. At the “Plastic Electronics Congress & Showcase” in Frankfurt, Germany in early October, Nanoident presented the first high-resolution organic semiconductor-based photodetector for high-volume applications.

Laser-guided bomb

Lockheed Martin (Archbald, PA) has been selected to develop, qualify and produce the Paveway II Dual Mode Laser Guided Bomb (DMLGB), the next-generation precision-guided weapon system for the U.S. Navy. The contract calls for a 2006 procurement worth $65 million and a five-year procurement with a potential value of $266 million. The program will upgrade the Navy’s inventory of legacy Paveway II kits by replacing an existing Computer Control Group system with an Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System, an all-weather guidance system that provides dual-mode guidance capability. The DMLGB minimizes collateral damage and improves mission effectiveness by providing precision strike capabilities in all weather at extended standoff ranges.


Submit your news to Optoelectronics Report. Sales reports, market outlooks, and strategic moves are just a few of the items we would like you to share. Please fax information to Kathy Kincade at (603) 891-0475 or send e-mail to [email protected].

More in Home