Continuum Photonics (Billerica, MA) and Polatis Ltd. (Cambridge, England), makers of optical switch subsystems and module products, signed a definitive agreement to merge. The companies will combine their technology, product lines, and personnel to create a single business dedicated to providing a full range of optical switch component and system products for the telecommunications, data networking, and defense industries. To serve its expanding customer base, the new company will maintain its offices and operations in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Under this agreement, existing investors will contribute additional capital to support the company’s growth. The merger is expected to close by August 15.
In related news, ADC (Minneapolis, MN) will acquire Fiber Optic Network Solutions (FONS; Marlboro, MA), a manufacturer of high-performance passive optical components and fiber optic cable packaging, distribution and connectivity solutions. ADC will pay $172 million in cash for FONS, net of any FONS debt at the time of closing. The transaction is expected to close during the next 30 to 90 days. According to the companies, the deal is designed to further enhance and add scale to ADC’s existing line of fiber-to-the-x solutions and to support ADC’s long-term goal of being the leading global provider global network infrastructure solutions.
E2V technologies plc (Chelmsford, England) has acquired Gresham Scientific Instruments Ltd. for approximately 5.1 million euros (US$6.2 million). Gresham, based near High Wycombe, is an independent manufacturer of x-ray detectors and associated products for energy dispersive x-ray and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry. These products are primarily used in scanning and transmission electron microscopes for scientific applications and also in industrial applications such as mining and the detection of harmful heavy metals in food. E2V said the acquisition introduces new technologies and products to its sensors portfolio in the medical and science sectors and provides Gresham with opportunities for growth due to its global distribution channels and its established presence in the United States.
In related news, Impex HighTech Inc. (Rheine, Germany), a maker of laser and optical components, recently announced it has purchased Princeton Scientific Corp. (PSC; Princeton, NJ), a supplier of material science and engineering-related products and particle beam line technology to laboratory scientists, engineers and industrial manufaturers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founded in 1991, PSC markets primarily to universities and the industrial research community. The company will retain its name. HighTech said the expansion is part of its strategy for growth in the United States and Canada.
NP Photonics (Tucson, AZ), a supplier of single-frequency fiber lasers for optical sensing applications in the oil and gas, security-military, medical imaging and research markets, announced it has closed a Series A2 funding round totaling $5 million. Participants were Enterprise Partners (La Jolla, CA), Sierra Ventures (Menlo Park, CA), and BB&T Capital Markets, Windsor Group (Reston, VA). Carl Eibl from Enterprise and Jeff Drazan from Sierra will serve on NP’s board. NP recently launched a line of single-frequency lasers that deliver up to 5 W of power and a single-frequency laser that it says has the narrowest linewidth (<200 Hz) available.
In collaboration with a team from King’s College London (England), ChG Southampton Ltd.-a spinoff of University of Southampton-is developing an infrared optical fiber-based system for surgical applications. The glasses developed by ChG transmit infrared light, which cannot be transmitted by conventional silica optical fiber. Infrared radiation is readily absorbed by human tissue, making it ideal for laser surgery.
The first potential application being targeted by the company is a laser scalpel that can destroy salivary duct stones. ChG has been awarded a SMART grant for research and development from the UK Department of Trade and Industry. Following successful demonstration of the optical fiber device, the team at ChG plans to further exploit the device in dermatology, dentistry, and ophthalmology.
Apollo Optical Systems (Rochester, NY) has expanded its single-point diamond turning and optical engineering services with the introduction of polymer injection molding for custom optical components and assemblies. In addition, the company has appointed Claude Tribastone as its vice president of manufacturing. He brings with him over 25 years of experience in the manufacturing of polymer-based optical products.
Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester, NY) now has available the first CMOS image sensor (CIS) devices to arise from its manufacturing alliance with IBM, as well as a reference design that incorporates these new image sensors with multimedia processors from Texas Instruments. In addition, Kodak has already signed an agreement to license key CIS manufacturing technologies to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited.
Kodak’s new 3- and 5-megapixel CIS devices-the KODAK KAC-3100 and KAC-5000 Image Sensors-are targeted to camera phone and consumer DSC and DVC applications. The new products are manufactured at IBM’s Burlington, VT, plant as part of the manufacturing collaboration announced last year between Kodak and IBM.
CVI Technical Optics (Albuquerque, NM) has been recommended to ISO 9001:2000 for the design, manufacture, and sales of precision optics, coatings, and assemblies. CVI’s quality system was assessed against the requirements of the standard by CICS (Stoke-on-Trent, UK). During the assessment, CICS examined CVI’s business processes, documents, data and records, interviewed employees and observed actual work practices at CVI’s manufacturing, development and distribution facility in Onchan, Isle of Man, the British Isles.
New at NIF
Edward Moses, an engineer and physicist with an extensive background in laser science, technology development, systems engineering and program management has been named Associate Director for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (Livermore, CA) National Ignition Facility (NIF) Programs Directorate, effective July 1. The appointment was made by LLNL Director Michael Anastasio and confirmed by the University of California and by the National Nuclear Security Administration. Moses, who has worked at the Lab for 20 years, has been Acting Associate Director since May, and NIF Project Manager since 1999. Moses replaces George Miller, who was named Associate Director-At-Large earlier this year.
Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) and Asylum Research (Santa Barbara, CA) signed a joint development agreement to collaborate on technologies and applications in the area of nanotechnology measurements. Agilent is also making an equity investment in Asylum Research, which develops atomic-force microscopes (AFMs). Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Agilent’s nanotechnology-measurements division, part of the company’s test-and-measurement business, is focused on the development of tools for the growing nanotechnology market.
Quantel (Paris, France) has been awarded a contract by the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) to supply pre-amplifier modules for the Megajoule project, a giant laser fusion facility under construction in Bordeaux. Within the framework of this contract, Quantel will provide the 120 modules preamplifiers that will deliver the laser beams necessary to feed the 240 lines of amplification for the Megajoule laser. The contract is worth Euro 30 million (US$36.4 million), and Quantel says that it is establishing a new 7000m2 plant near Ullis to support the contract.
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To help the semiconductor industry meet its goal of EUVL production by 2010, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) has established a dedicated beamline at its Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility for durability testing of multilayer mirrors. Initial tests established that standard mirrors topped with silicon would have lifetimes of just minutes to hours, while ruthenium-capped mirrors had lifetimes of a few tens of hours, still a thousand times less than industry’s requirement.
To determine how damage scales with various parameters, NIST researchers recently exposed EUVL mirrors (provided by SEMATECH from work it co-funded) to varying levels of light intensity, water and hydrocarbon concentrations. Contrary to expectations, they found that increasing amounts of water vapor caused less mirror damage, which may be due to a simultaneous increase in the ambient hydrocarbon levels. Subsequent experiments have shown that deliberately introducing trace amounts of a simple hydrocarbon like methanol can mitigate significantly the water-induced damage. NIST scientists are commissioning a new beamline devoted to accelerated testing and will add a second branch to the existing beamline that will provide broadband illumination (wavelengths of approximately 11 nm to 50 nm) into a single spot at approximately 100 times the intensity of the current system.