News Briefs

Sep 1st, 2005

Transportation bill

In what the Optical Society of America is calling a milestone achievement for the optics and photonics community, on August 10, U.S. President George Bush signed into law the “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users,” also known as HR 3, which contained a specific reference to photonics in its definition of an Intelligent Transportation System. In section 5310, subsection (3) of the bill, Intelligent Transportation System is defined as “electronics, photonics, communications or information processing used singly or in combination to improve the efficiency or safety of a surface transportation system.” Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO), Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA) were conferees on this bill and were largely responsible for the word’s insertion which will keep photonics at the forefront of federal policy.

“OSA is thrilled to see that photonics has made it into the definition of Intelligent Transportation System. Congress and the Administration clearly recognize the importance of the contributions of optics and photonics to transportation needs,” stated Elizabeth Rogan, executive director of the Optical Society of America. “I would like to publicly thank Senator Bond, Senator Inhofe and Congressman Shuster for their visionary thinking and efforts to include photonics in this legislation.”

New funding

Nozomi Photonics (San Jose, CA), a supplier of high-speed optical switches, has secured $8 million of funding led by Japanese investor Globis Capital Partners. Following this financial round, Takuo Inoue, Principal at Globis Capital Partners and Akihito Ogino, Partner at Tokio Marine Capital, will be joining Nozomi Photonics’ Board of Directors. Utilizing proprietary PLZT electro-optic technology, Nozomi Photonics designs, manufactures, and markets integrated photonics products for the optical communications market.

Acquisition

Teem Photonics (Grenoble, France) and JDS Uniphase (San Jose, CA) signed a definitive agreement for the sale of JDS Uniphase’s passive Q-switched microlaser product line and Grenoble, France, facility to Teem Photonics. Additionally, JDS Uniphase will exclusively license to Teem intellectual property, including a number of patents, associated with passive Q-switched microlasers. Teem Photonics and JDS Uniphase said they recognize that current customers would be best served by a local owner capable of providing the Grenoble-based group more market focus, greater management attention, and improved targeting of investments. The parties have also agreed that JDS Uniphase will continue to supply Teem Photonics with components critical to the manufacture of these differentiated microlasers, ensuring no disruption of customer supply.

Applications facility

HORIBA Jobin Yvon has opened a new applications facility in Longjumeau, France. The 3555 square foot space features four show rooms in a circular axis around a common meeting area and wireless conference room. The show rooms are designed for the presentation of X-ray fluorescence spectrometers, sulphur-in-oil analyzers, and ICP atomic emission spectrometers. The space also offers access to a new chemical laboratory. The glow discharge optical emission spectrometer show room offers access to a new mechanical sample preparation room. Completing the laboratory are show rooms for C, S, O, N & H elemental analyzers and particle size analyzers.

Production facility

Sabeus, a developer of fiberoptic systems for acoustic sensing, intrusion detection and surveillance applications has opened its newest production and R&D facility in Freeport, PA. Sabeus’ Federal Systems division will be based in the new 15,000 square foot facility located in the Northpointe Technology Center, 27 miles north of Pittsburgh. Sabeus has installed at Northpointe a state-of-the-art fiberoptic manufacturing center to automate the production of its proprietary embedded sensors and fiber coatings. Sabeus’ sensing systems are designed to meet the requirements of the U.S. Navy for undersea surveillance applications.

Contract extended

Princeton Lightwave (Cranbury, NJ), a producer of near-infrared high-power diode lasers and application-specific detectors for communications, defense, and sensing applications, has received a second year of funding from the Department of Defense’s High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office (JTO) to continue development of highly scalable eye-safe solid state lasers using InP diode pumping with ultra-low photon defect.

“Princeton Lightwave’s achievements during the first year of this JTO-sponsored program included the first demonstration of 100 W from a diode-pumped Er:YAG solid state laser emitting near 1.65 microns and dramatically increased output power at 1530 nm from InP pump laser bars,” said Princeton Lightwave CTO Mark Itzler. “We are excited about the prospects for this program’s second year, and we look forward to surpassing 1-kW power levels with this solid state laser technology.”

Another round

Picolight (Louisville, CO) has completed a $27.5 million funding effort, with the addition of $14.5 million in a combination of new equity investment and debt financing. Picolight will use the latest round of investment to expand its operations, scale its manufacturing process to meet growing customer demand, and extend its 1310-nm VCSEL products from 4-Gigabit fibre channel to 10-Gigabit Ethernet at long-reach over single-mode fiber. According to the company, revenues and bookings for the past 12 months have doubled year-over-year.

Army imaging

Axsys Technologies (Rocky Hill, CT) received a $4.4 million order to produce dual-field-of-view infrared imaging lenses for an advanced U.S. Army armored vehicle. These high-performance lenses will enable vehicle operators to carry out all-weather missions, day or night. The order specifies product delivery over the next twelve months. Axsys is a vertically integrated supplier of optical solutions for high-technology applications, serving the aerospace, defense and commercial markets.

Quantum dot patents

Nanosys (Palo Alto, CA) has been issued U.S. Patent #6,890,777 and #6,914,265 entitled “Quantum Dot White and Colored Light Emitting Diodes,” by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. These patents, exclusively licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, cover the fundamental technology to allow semiconductor quantum dots, or nanocrystals, to be used as down converting phosphors for white and colored light emission. The technology described in the newest patents is fundamental for developing quantum dots for numerous applications including displays, lighting, and spectral encoding. In addition, these patents cover critical features of quantum dots, including fundamental new compositions of matter to significantly increase performance and capability. The ‘777 and ‘265 patents complement Nanosys’ other patents covering some of the earliest work in basic core shell nanocrystals for highly efficient light emission.

Navy contract

IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA) was awarded a contract by the US Navy for its 10-kW continuous-wave ytterbium fiber laser system. The commercial procurement contract was awarded by the Naval Surface Warfare Center (Crane, IN). The Navy purchased the YLR-10000 with central emission wavelength of 1070 nm. The unit is water cooled and delivers its output through a 20 meter flexible fiber. IPG sells ytterbium fiber laser systems from 10 to 30 kW for a variety of materials processing applications.

LCD license

Honeywell (Morris Township, NJ) has granted a license authorizing Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. (CPT; Taiwan) to use a patented Honeywell technology relating to certain liquid crystal display (LCD) products. The technology increases the brightness of images and reduces the appearance of certain interference effects on LCDs. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The CPT agreement provides a license to use Honeywell’s technology protected by U.S. Patent Number 5,280,371. Honeywell licensed Sanyo and Sharp Corp. under the ‘371 patent earlier this year and LG.Philips LCD, NEC LCD, Chi Mei Optoelectronics, and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in prior years. In October 2004, Honeywell filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against 34 electronics companies alleging infringement of the ‘371 patent. The litigation is pending.

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