News Briefs

Photovoltaic investment: Emcore (Somerset, NJ), a provider of compound semiconductor-based components and subsystems for the broadband, fiber optic, satellite and solar photovoltaic markets, has agreed to invest $18 million in WorldWater & Power Corp.

Photovoltaic investment: Emcore (Somerset, NJ), a provider of compound semiconductor-based components and subsystems for the broadband, fiber optic, satellite and solar photovoltaic markets, has agreed to invest $18 million in WorldWater & Power Corp., a developer and marketer of photovoltaic systems for terrestrial power generation including proprietary electrical motor drive technology for water pumping. In return, Emcore will retain 31% equity ownership in WorldWater. The two companies have also formed a strategic alliance and supply agreement under which Emcore becomes the exclusive supplier of high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells, assemblies, and concentrator subsystems to WorldWater-a contract valued at up to $100 million over the next three years. On November 29, Emcore invested $13.5 million in WorldWater, representing the first tranche of its $18 million investment.

Patent lawsuit: The District Court of Düsseldorf / Germany ruled in favor of OC Oerlikon Balzers Ltd. (Oerlikon, Germany) in a patent-infringement case with Prodisc. Legal action for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement of the German patent DE 197 089 49 C2 was originally filed by Prodisc in the District Court of Düsseldorf. The patent in question covers segmented color wheels used for projection apparatus. Prodisc argued that its color wheel is not within the scope of Oerlikon’s patent claims; Oerlikon then filed a counter claim alleging Prodisc of patent infringement. In its judgment the court dismissed Prodisc’s action and determined that the German patent is indeed infringed by Prodisc’s color wheels.

Nano deal:NL Nanosemiconductor (Dortmund, Germany), a leader in the commercialization of quantum dot technology for semiconductor lasers, acquired Zia Laser (San Jose, CA), a manufacturer of quantum dot semiconductor lasers. Financial terms were not disclosed. According to the companies, there is “clear potential” for quantum dot lasers to enable optical interconnect and optical clock technology, opening up new markets for III-V-based optoelectronics, including optical imaging and medical treatment, where a number of applications will benefit from the broad gain spectrum and unique wavelength range (1.1-1.3 µm) of quantum dot technology.

Barcode scanners: Microvision (Redmond, WA), a developer of light-scanning technologies for display and imaging products, has entered into an agreement with Network Systems & Technologies (NeST) to establish an offshore development center initially for the engineering design and development of Microvision’s laser barcode scanner product. Under the agreement, the NeST engineering team will work as an extension of the Microvision product development team in Redmond on product enhancements and cost reduction.

“The NeST offshore development center should enable us to achieve several important goals consistent with our business strategy,” said Sid Madhavan, VP of engineering for Microvision. “First, we expect quicker response to our customers’ requests for feature enhancements and stronger cost position. Second, the relationship with NeST allows us to maintain the focus in engineering on our Integrated Photonics Module platform activities targeted towards high volume products such as miniature laser projectors .”

Expanding:NeoPhotonics (San Jose, CA), a global supplier of optical networking components for long-haul, metro and access (such as FTTX) networks, acquired Paxera (Santa Clara, CA) as part of what the company says is a significant expansion of its product line for reconfigurable DWDM high-capacity optical networks. According to the company, Paxera’s ultra-widely tunable lasers, featuring the industry’s widest tuning range, enhance NeoPhotonics’ existing broad line of products which are found in dynamically managed and reconfigurable networks. These products include ROADMs, dynamic channel equalizers, VOA multiplexers, VOA modules, and channel monitoring. Paxera’s technology also enables tunable filters and supports 40 Gb/s applications.

Series C: BinOptics Corporation (Ithaca, NY), manufacturer of integrated microphotonic chips produced using a novel etched-facet technology, has closed its Series C round of funding totaling $6 million. BinOptics will use the new funding to support the scaling of its line of telecom and datacom lasers designed for high-speed applications (up to 10 Gbps). It will also be used to accelerate product development of etched-facet blue lasers for optical storage applications. The funding was led by new investor STIC International (Palo Alto, CA), the U.S. arm of STIC Investments, one of South Korea’s leading venture capital and financial equity groups. Previous BinOptics investors, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Cayuga Venture Fund, FA Technology Ventures, and ArrowPath Venture Partners, all participated in this round.

Red laser: Novalux (Sunnyvale, CA), developer of Necsel laser technology, has delivered red 1.5-W Necsel laser prototypes to key consumer electronics partners. The 1.5-W output is twice the power of previous red Necsel devices, which Novalux says puts the company on track to produce RGB Necsel lasers for integration into high-definition projection TVs.

“Reaching 1.5 W with our red Necsel arrays is a significant step toward our goal of shipping RGB lasers that produce 3 W per color for our initial product,” said Greg Niven, Novalux vice president of marketing. “We reached 3-W power output with green and blue some time ago, and we’ve been able to apply what we learned with that product development to our red technology. We are on track to deliver all-Necsel RGB sources to our consumer electronics partners for integration into HD laser TVs for Christmas 2007.”

Novalux will demonstrate its Necsel technology during the Consumer Electronics Show 2007, January 8-11, in Las Vegas, NV.

North American office: Lumics (Berlin, Germany), a manufacturer of fiber-coupled laser modules, has increased its worldwide marketing presence by establishing a sales office in Los Angeles, CA, in response to increasing product demand in North America. “The creation of a corporate presence in North America will provide our customers with a direct link to Lumics and also will support our already existing network of sales representatives and distributors in the Western Hemisphere,” said George Schaefer, VP, sales and marketing. Lee Branst, a 20-year veteran of the laser and semiconductor industries, will head up the office as Lumics’ North America regional sales manager.

Image sensors: DALSA Corporation (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) recently received contracts totaling CDN $5.8 million (US$5 million) to deliver high-resolution image sensor chips to two valued customers in the X-ray imaging and photogrammetry fields over the next two years. For the first contract, the image sensor chips will be “the eyes” of the customer’s digital x-ray system, which is currently gaining broad market acceptance as an increasing number of hospitals and clinics worldwide make the investment in digital tools with the goal of more efficiently and accurately diagnosing and treating patients. The second customer will use DALSA’s high-resolution chips in their large format photogrammetry camera system, which is designed to capture highly detailed imagery.

“These new contracts clearly highlight the strength we have in our core operations, particularly in our Semiconductor division,” said Savvas Chamberlain, CEO of DALSA. “Across the board, we are seeing an increase in the demand for our high performance image sensor chips.”

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