News Briefs

InP future

OIDA, the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (Washington, DC), released a roadmap for the indium phosphide (InP) technology market, including recommendations on ways to improve the current conditions in this particular industry sector. The roadmap emphasizes several key recommendations for streamlining activities within the InP foundry marketplace, including:

  • Indium Phosphide technology, used for lasers and LEDs in communications, should mirror industry foundry models that follow silicon semiconductor infrastructure.
  • The optoelectronics companies need to drive a common foundry model as per silicon 20 years ago. The communications industry, for example, is shackled with heavy overhead costs of internal indium phosphide fabs that have excess capacity.

“The optoelectronics industry is at a crossroads,” said Michael Lebby, OIDA executive director. “Key device vendors would like to become horizontally integrated, as demanded by their customer base for one-stop shops, higher market share and common manufacturing infrastructure. Unfortunately, they are forced to remain vertically integrated because of the competitive advantage they get in their InP optoelectronic device designs. The roadmap toward a common indium phosphide optoelectronics foundry is clear: cooperation is necessary among the optoelectronics device manufacturers.”

New strategy

Thales Group (Orsay, France), a manufacturer of electronic and optoelectronic systems with 65,000 employees, is reinforcing and repositioning its laser strategy by linking Thales Laser to its Device Hardening Instrumentation & Safety (DIS) division (part of the Land and Joint Systems Business Group) to enable a stronger position in scientific, medical, and defense-related markets. Last April, Thales Laser left the High-Tech Optics business unit and joined the DIS division managed by Gerard Labaune to expand on high-end laser markets. The ultrafast lasers manufactured by Thales Laser are now integrated in the cyclotrons, synchrotrons, and particle accelerators manufactured by DIS.

“The strong synergies between Thales Laser and DIS will enable customers to get a full system solution that goes beyond the laser source,” says Antoine Duret, marketing & application engineer at Thales Laser. Examples that illustrate this repositioning strategy are the recent contract for a 100-Hz diode-pumped solid-state ultrafast system by Stanford University to seed a linear accelerator, the order of a terawatt system by a major U.S. aerospace company, and the strong involvement of Thales Laser in programs to develop new diode-pumped laser solutions.

Grand prize

The Optical Society of America (OSA; Washington, DC)) and Bookham New Focus (San Jose, CA) awarded the grand prize of the 2005 OSA-Bookham New Focus Student Award to Gretchen Campbell of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her research and presentation, “Photon Recoil Momentum in Dispersive Medium.” Campbell’s research focuses on ultra-cold atoms, specifically on the phenomena of Bose-Einstein condensation of dilute alkali gases. Her team’s results show that the momentum transferred to an atom depends on the index of refraction of the medium.

“This award supports the development of skills that students must master in order to grow professionally,” said Elizabeth Rogan, executive director for OSA. “These fundamental abilities to present your research to your peers in an effective and stimulating manner will lead to future opportunities. During the competition, it was obvious that both the presenter and the student audience benefited from this generous support from Bookham New Focus. All of this year’s finalists have exemplified the characteristics of leaders within the optics community.”

Seven finalists were evaluated on oral presentations of their research at the 2005 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) in May. Other competition finalists include Ivan Amat-Roldán, Institut de Ciències Fotòniques, Barcelona, Spain; Aaron Danner, University of Illinois,Urbana-Champaign; Preetpaul Devgan, Northwestern University; Zhi Jiang, Purdue University; Sajjad A. Khan, CREOL, University of Central Florida; Thomas P. White, CUDOS, University of Sydney, Australia; and Thomas P. White, CUDOS, University of Sydney, Australia.

LED partners

New Wave Research (Fremont, CA), a manufacturer of laser-based systems for flat-panel display repair, semiconductor failure analysis and micromachining, and Opto System Co., Ltd, a premier Japanese manufacturer of inspection and manufacturing equipment for semiconductor-related products, today announced a cooperation to develop and market advanced LED wafer-scribing systems for the semiconductor-manufacturing marketplace. Through this agreement, Opto System acknowledges and respects the value and importance of New Wave Research patents.

“New Wave Research has accumulated respectable IP rights and expertise in laser systems. Additionally, we happily notice that both companies share the same entrepreneurial culture emphasizing speed and innovation. I believe no other combination will realize greater value to the worldwide customers of both companies,” said Masanori Otake, senior director of Opto System.

“Opto System’s extensive history in mechanical systems integration is the perfect complement to New Wave Research’s expertise in advanced laser technology and beam-delivery systems,” said Pei Hsien Fang, CEO of New Wave Research. “The combination of our individual strengths provides a unique opportunity to set new benchmarks in LED wafer-scribing performance-and expand into other areas of semiconductor manufacturing.”


Toppan Photomasks (Round Rock, TX) announced plans to expand its Ichon, Korea, facility. The expansion includes new clean room space and plans for the installation of an advanced e-beam pattern generator and associated support equipment for volume production of semiconductor devices at 90nm and prototype development at 65nm to support the growing Korean market. “Korea is one of the fastest-growing markets for photomasks. This expansion will extend our Ichon facility’s past success and demonstrates that we will always supply our Korean customers with the technology they need to deliver the most advanced chips possible, including advanced logic and memory products,” said Marshall Turner, president and CEO of Toppan Photomasks.

New name

Leister Process Technologies (Sarnen, Switzerland) will market its Microsystems Products under a new brand name: AXETRIS. According to the company, the launch of a new brand for the microsystems business reflects the maturity of its microsystems activity and its strategic importance for Leister. This new brand AXETRIS extends the brand family of Leister, which offers its laser plastic welding systems under the brand NOVOLAS and its plastic welding and process heat equipment under the brand LEISTER. Leister started its Microsystems activities in 1998 as a strategic diversification step and established later a separate Business Unit, the Microsystems Division which is now named Axetris Microsystems Division.

Distribution pact

Melles Griot (Carlsbad, CA) signed a limited global distribution agreement allowing for distribution of some of Coherent’s Laser Measurement and Control (LMC) Product Line. Products include a wide range of LMC’s power-, energy-, and wavelength-measuring instrumentation in the new Melles Griot Catalog X, which was introduced at Laser Munich in June 2005. The agreement not only enables Melles Griot to expand significantly its offering of power- and energy measurement products, but also gives LMC access to the marketing power of the Melles Griot catalog, the world’s most comprehensive source of photonics components.

Sales and support

Xtera Communications (Allen, TX) has opened five sales and support centers around the globe. According to the company, the new sales and support centers demonstrates Xtera’s commitment to create a premier global support organization staffed by individuals with proven track records. The first opening occurred in France to support the EMEA region following successful customer wins and deployment of an all-optical multi-service network. Sales and support centers were also launched to support China and South East Asia, Japan, and South America.

Sky blue

Universal Display Corporation (Ewing, NJ) says it has achieved a fundamental technical advance in the development of its blue phosphorescent OLED technology: a sky blue (474-nm peak emission) PHOLED with over 15,000 hours of operating lifetime. According to the company, this is the first blue PHOLED that has broken through, by an order of magnitude, the 1000 hour lifetime barrier--a challenge that some people thought might be insurmountable. With this breakthrough, Universal Display says it is a step closer to an all-phosphorescent system that may provide significant benefits in OLED power efficiency for portable and large-area displays, as well as in other areas of organic electronics such as solid state lighting.

Sensor contract

e2v technologies (Chelmsford, England) has been awarded the flight-phase contract to supply the European Space Agency (ESA) with CCD imaging sensors for the primary scientific instrument on its high profile GAIA space mission. This contract is worth 14.3 million Euros (US$17.3 million) over the next three years. According to the company, the win is the culmination of a successful two-year contract for the design and development of a custom CCD image sensor specifically tailored to the needs of the GAIA program. The development phase contract was placed in 2003 and was valued at 2 million Euros (US$2.4 million) and there are further options to supply up to another 10 million Euros (US$12.1 million) of flight-grade sensors for this program.

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