News Briefs

March 1, 2005

Done deal

Steren Electronics International (San Diego, CA) acquired the assets of Lightwave Solutions (San Diego, CA). Lightwave Solutions, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Steren, will continue to serve the optical transport market. Lightwave Solutions provides cost-efficient, reliable advanced broadband optical transport solutions for high-speed network operators. The company’s portfolio features a flexible hub-based 1310-nm transmission platform, which includes optical transmitter and receiver modules and a high-density chassis. Steren designs and manufactures voice, video and data connectivity solutions and is an affiliate of Electrónica Steren S.A. (Mexico City), the largest wholesaler and retailer of electronics in Mexico.

Image unit

Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC; Ann Arbor, MI), a provider of optical products and advanced engineering services, launched an Image Exploitation Business Unit. This group, which consists of experts in 3-D and 2-D image processing as well as hardware development, will focus on expanding Michigan Aerospace’s product base with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA, and the commercial sector. One of the first applications being pursued is 3-D sensing and processing for on-orbit spacecraft operations. The software and hardware being developed has wide-ranging potential for sensing in many different environments, including space, air, land, and undersea settings.

Strategic partners

Laser Physics UK (Cheshire, England) and ADM Photonics (Cheshire) have entered into a strategic partnership that should help both companies to provide a more comprehensive service to their customers. Products that are available from this partnership include lasers, laser safety products, fiberoptic instruments and components, polarization components, and metrology and machine-vision systems.

VLED focus

In a move designed to give design engineers an integrated source for VLED products, TT electronics OPTEK Technology (Carrollton, TX) has created a new business unit focused in VLED technology, expanding the company’s current offerings in infrared and optoelectronic sensing technologies. The new business unit will market visible LEDs for interior and exterior automotive lighting, displays and signage, backlighting and indicator lights, commercial, institutional, residential lighting and illumination applications. Richard Saffa has joined OPTEK as the Vice President of the VLED Business Unit. He brings more than 20 years of optoelectronics experience, most recently at Everlight International and Fairchild Semiconductor. Another addition to the team is Janie Haynie, who has joined OPTEK as the Product Marketing Director for the Visible LED Business Unit. She has previous experience with Everlight, Fairchild Semiconductor, and QT Optoelectronics.

Weapons contract

BAE Systems (Hampshire, England) has been selected by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Advanced Technology Office to convert a 60-mm mortar into a precision-guided munitions system. DARPA’s Optically Directed Attack Munition program is a technology development and integration initiative to demonstrate a laser-guided, low cost optical seeker for the 60-mm mortar. The total value, if all phases of the development program are completed, will be approximately $9 million. The systems will improve U.S. military effectiveness by providing small, operational units with cost-effective precision indirect munitions systems capable of operating across multiple environments.

PLED partners

Cambridge Display Technology (Cambridge, England) and Toppan Printing (Tokyo, Japan) have commenced Phase Two of their joint program to explore alternative printing processes for the fabrication of displays based on light emitting polymer (PLED) technology. Phase One, completed at the end of 2004, concentrated on proving the feasibility of using a roll printing process to deposit light emitting polymer materials onto a glass substrate. This technique would enable device manufacture based on roll-to-roll processing with attendant low costs of production. Phase Two focuses on the performance of roll printed displays. It aims to produce displays by roll printing which have lifetime, efficiency and color fidelity comparable to displays produced by ink jet printing. Full color demonstrators of VGA resolution and 12-in. diagonal will be the product of the next two year program.


Laser-diode developer Photonic Products (Hertfordshire, England) has moved to larger premises in Hatfield Broad Oak, Hertfordshire. Launched in 1995, Photonic Products has seen its turnover increase by 226% and its workforce trebled since 2001. According to the company, its success is fueled by growing demand for its range of custom designed optoelectronic components, which deliver performance and manufacturing efficiencies to OEM manufacturers.

“2004 was an exceptional year for Photonic Products, as we expanded our product line, captured significant market share in key areas, and expanded our operations as a global company with a greater emphasis on the North American region,” said Tony Pope, managing director. “We’re really pleased with the progress that we’ve made over the last three years, and the new facility marks the next stage in our growth. We’re looking forward to 2005 with the flexibility for further expansion.”

Distribution pact

Laser Components (Olching, Germany) signed a distribution contract with California based New Source Technology (NST; Pleasanton, CA) covering the western United States. Under the terms of the agreement NST will be selling Laser Component’s high-power laser optics and laser diode modules. According to Greg Pon, president of NST, Laser Components laser optics and laser diode modules are excellent complements to NST's existing line of high performance solid-state reflectors, flash lamps, and power supplies.

FPD cleanroom

Expanding its presence in the United States and Arizona, EV Group (Schärding, Austria) has formally opened its new North American headquarters in Tempe, AZ, with a state-of-the-art Class 10 production cleanroom. The new facility, designed to serve the company’s expanding North American customer base, will be used by EV Group for sales and support of its diverse line of tools for producing electronic devices, such as semiconductors and flat-panel displays, and for development of nanotechnology production techniques. EV Group, a leading manufacturer of MEMS, nano, and semiconductor wafer-processing equipment, also will use the facility to conduct joint development work with the Flexible Display Center, sponsored by Arizona State University and the U.S. Army. EV Group is providing a large-area spray coater and developer to the center’s GenII automated production line, which uses 14x18-inch glass substrates.

Sensor contract

The U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (Arlington, VA) a $10 million contract for fabrication, integration, test, and delivery of seven photonics mast workstations (PMWs) for installation on Virginia-class submarines. The PMWs are used to control and display imaging sensor data from the AN/BVS-1 Photonics Mast System. The contract includes engineering services in support of the development, field maintenance and modification of the photonics mast workstations for integration into the photonics mast system. The photonics mast is an electronic imaging sensor set contained on a mast that does not penetrate the submarine hull as do conventional periscopes.

Diagnostic grant

SpectRx (Atlanta, GA) is partnering with Emory University as part of a grant to Emory from the Georgia Research Alliance to support U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trials of a noninvasive cervical cancer detection device. The $64,700 matching grant will be used for the clinical trial of the SpectRx-developed technology at Grady Memorial Hospital under the guidance of Dr. Lisa Flowers of Emory University. The cervical cancer detection device uses proprietary technology to identify cancers and precancers painlessly and non-invasively by analyzing light reflected from the cervix. The device creates an image of the cervix that highlights the location and severity of disease. The technology distinguishes between normal and diseased tissue by detecting biochemical and morphological changes at the cellular level.

Distribution pact

Diodes Inc. (Westlake Village, CA), a manufacturer and supplier of high-quality discrete semiconductors, signed a distribution agreement with Rutronik Electronic Components GmbH (Ispringen, Germany), a distributor of electronic components of high-technology and standard products. Diodes’ agreement with Rutronik strengthens its position in the Central European market and gives Diodes access to Rutronik’s Europe-wide network of sales operations, with 44 offices in all major countries and more than 850 employees throughout the continent.

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