News Briefs

March 15, 2005

Multimode fibers

InnovaQuartz (Phoenix, AZ) has acquired the 3M TECS multimode optical fiber product line located in West Haven, CT. InnovaQuartz plans to move the TECS/Power Core Multimode fiber production business to its new fiber draw facility in Phoenix. According to the company, TECS multimode fiber is one of the most reliable and efficient optical fibers for use in high energy laser delivery; as such, it will complement InnovaQuartz’ existing high dimensional precision fiber production capabilities. The TECS fiber will be renamed and marketed as IQinc TEQS Multimode Fiber and will be available in the second quarter of 2005. 3M will continue to sell a wide range of fiber optic products through its Communication Markets Division.

Done deal

Optelecom (Germantown, MD) announced the closing of its acquisition of NKF Electronics B.V., a wholly owned subsidiary of Draka Holding N.V. According to the company, the transaction establishes Optelecom as a leading global independent producer of comprehensive fiber optic-based communications solutions for video surveillance, traffic monitoring, and business video systems. The purchase price was 20 million Euro (US$26.4 million), which consisted of a cash payment of 11 million Euro (US$14.5 million) and a 6% subordinated note issued by Optelecom to Draka Holding N.V. in the principal amount of 9 million Euros (US$11.9 million), maturing in 2010.

Military contract

Northrop Grumman Corporation (Redondo Beach, CA) received a contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop electronic components made from gallium nitride, a next-generation semiconductor material system that should improve communications, radar, and intelligence capabilities. The three-year, $16.5 million contract for the Wide Band Gap Semiconductors for Radio Frequency Applications initiative is potentially valued at $53.4 million if all program options are exercised. Northrop Grumman began developing this technology in 2002 under a $5.1 million Wide Band Gap Semiconductors Phase 1 contract.

“This new contract will enable us to transition gallium nitride technology from development to production, just as we have previously transitioned gallium arsenide and indium phosphide technologies from research through development to flight-qualified production for critical government platforms,” said Dwight Streit, vice president, Foundation Technologies, at the company’s Space Technology sector.

New president

Cymer (San Diego, CA), the world’s leading supplier of deep ultraviolet (DUV) light sources used in semiconductor manufacturing, promotedTakeshi Watanabe to president of Cymer Japan. In this role, Watanabe-san will be responsible for managing the company’s overall Japan business, including sales, service, and operations infrastructure. He will report to Jim McGuire, Cymer’s newly appointed senior vice president of worldwide customer operations.

Display partners

Cambridge Display Technology (CDT; Cambridge, England) and Add-Vision, a developer of technology for low-information content displays, signed a business collaboration in which CDT will give AVI a paid-up license to certain CDT IP for specialised low resolution display applications. CDT will also join the existing private equity investors in a new round of funding to allow AVI to develop the technology more rapidly. In return for the license and equity investment, CDT will acquire a very substantial minority position in AVI.

The Add-Vision approach allows simple P-OLED displays and backlights to be fabricated by fast screen printing on plastic substrates without the need for high-end clean room facilities. As a result, the cost of display production can be kept lower, while maximizing throughput volumes. With the AVI technology, P-OLED displays are expected to participate in the point-of-purchase display market. Other potential applications include electronic signage, gaming machines, and toys.

Nonexclusive license

Bookham (San Jose, CA) has non-exclusively licensed a portfolio of patents on silicon photonics to Kotura (Monterey Park, CA), a manufacturer of silicon photonic components. The Bookham technology covered by the patents relates to the design and manufacturing of silicon waveguide devices such as variable optical attenuators and modulators and to the construction of multi-functional optical silicon chips. Bookham exited silicon photonics in 2003.

Photon detection

Id Quantique (Geneva, Switzerland) and Becker&Hickl (Berlin, Germany) have entered into a strategic partnership to cooperate in the field of single photon detection for life science applications. Under this agreement, Becker&Hickl will now offer id Quantique’s id100-20 module (the company’s latest single photon counter for the visible range) to its customer base. Becker&Hickl has identified the id100-20 as a real alternative to micro-channel plates and photomultiplier tubes, thanks to its low jitter of 40ps and its timing stability (up to count rates of at least 10MHz). Both companies will cooperate to provide attractive solutions for applications such as single-molecule spectroscopy, time-resolved confocal microscopy, fluorescence lifetime measurements and laser testing. The collaboration will also cover the development of custom single photon counter arrays.

SBIR contract

Aculight Corporation (Bothell, WA) has won a new contract under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The award is a Phase I contract from NASA for $70,000 to develop a compact, efficient and robust ultraviolet (UV) fiber laser system for space-based UV-Raman spectrometers. Based on Aculight’s novel pulsed fiber laser technology, the system will be designed to produce frequency-quadrupled UV light at 245 nm. According to the company, the combination of a compact, efficient, pulsed fiber system with harmonic generation technology will enable a more compact, efficient, and reliable UV Raman spectrometer than is currently available.

Foundry services

Avanex (Fremont, CA) has begun offering Foundry Services to meet the need for custom optoelectronic components for data communications, telecommunications, medical, defense, and instrumentation applications. Avanex also is introducing a set of standard optoelectronics chips with applications in those markets. Avanex’s Foundry Services and optoelectronics chips are based on advanced Indium Phosphide, Gallium Arsenide, and Lithium Niobate technologies. Avanex’s Foundry Services include custom design capabilities, epitaxy, wafer processing with different wafer size capability, optical analysis, structural analysis, morphological analysis, material characterization and electro-optic performance assessment and screening. Industrial equipment supports processes such as photolithography, thin-film deposition for passivation and facet coating, sputtering, E-beam evaporation, wet and dry etching and electroplating.

In addition to Foundry Services, Avanex also is introducing a set of standard optical InP and GaAs chips for applications in telecommunications, data communications, medical, defense and instrumentation. Avanex offers Fabry-Perot and Distributed Feedback laser chips, monolithically integrated Electro-absorption Modulator Laser chips, pump laser chips and PIN, APD or monitoring photodiode chips.

Another acquisition

Dynasil Corporation of America (West Berlin, NJ), fabricator of optical blanks from synthetic fused silica, fused quartz, and other optical materials for the semi-conductor, laser, space, and optical components industries has completed the purchase of Optometrics (Ayer, MA). Dynasil has been a long-term supplier to Optometrics, which is a worldwide supplier of quality optical components including diffraction gratings, lenses, thin-film filters, laser optics, monochromators, and specialized optical systems and software. The previous owners of Optometrics LLC, Laura Lunardo and Frank Denton, signed two year, renewable employment contracts and will continue to actively lead the Optometrics business. The anticipated revenues for the combined companies are expected to exceed $6 million.

Full license

Biolase (San Clemente, CA) signed a fully-paid license agreement related to patents owned or licensed by SurgiLight in the field of presbyopia, which is a phenomenon of natural aging that results in the loss of near-reading ability over the age of 40 years old. Biolase will acquire fully paid license rights in the United States and International markets to patents owned or licensed by SurgiLight in the field of presbyopia and other patents related to the field of Ophthalmology. If certain terms and conditions are satisfactorily met, Biolase will pay an aggregate consideration of $2 million in cash, which will be paid in scheduled installments.

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