News Briefs

Another M&A: After acquiring the outstanding shares of Quintessence Photonics Corporation (QPC) in a reverse merger transaction.

Another M&A: After acquiring the outstanding shares of Quintessence Photonics Corporation (QPC) in a reverse merger transaction. Planning Force (Sylmar, CA) has changed its name to QPC Lasers and replaced its officers and directors with officers and directors of QPC. The company has applied for a new OTCBB trading symbol and expects the new symbol to be issued in late May. Founded in 2000 as Quintessence, QPC today develops and produces high-power, high-brightness semiconductor lasers and associated optical components for industrial, military, homeland security, and medical markets. Its intellectual property consists of three issued patents and 13 pending patent applications.

QPC believes it has produced the world’s only high power monolithic surface emitting arrays, wherein it can aggregate hundreds of high power lasers onto a single semiconductor chip. In addition, QPC has designed and is developing, subject to additional funding, the world’s only on-chip wavelength conversion and control. This technology can produce eye-safe wavelengths for detecting pollution, hazardous materials and chemical explosives; it also is conducive to establishing effective countermeasures for heat-seeking missiles, to producing a directed energy weapons arsenal for the U.S. military, and for the creation of eye-safe laser products for surgery, hair, tattoo and acne removal, and other commercial applications.

Since its inception, QPC has received over $6 million of development contracts from the United States Navy, United States Army, United States Missile Defense Agency, and defense contractors in the United States and Israel. It has raised approximately $29 million in four separate rounds of equity financing.

Acquisition OK: According to a notice posted May 9 by the Federal Trade Commission, federal regulators have dropped their anti-trust review of Coherent’s (Santa Clara, CA) proposed acquisition of Excel Technology (Long Island, NY). In April, shareholders of Excel approved the deal, which was first proposed in February (see Optoelectronics Report, March 1, 2006).

“Over the last several months, we have been highlighting the long-term growth potential of the materials processing market as well as the need for consolidation in the photonics industry,” John Ambroseo, president and CEO of Coherent, said in February. “We believe the materials processing market is poised for solid growth over the next decade as photonic-based tools continue to displace mechanical tools ... (in) textiles processing, security and lock coding, as well as precision and heavy machining.”

Red Herring award: Liekki (Lohja, Finland), a supplier of highly doped optical fibers and fiber laser modules, has been selected for the 2006 Red Herring 100 Europe Winner Award.The award recognizes the 100 most promising firms driving the future of technology. Liekki is a recipient of Red Herring 100 Europe, a selection of the 100 private companies based in the EMEA region that play a leading role in innovation and technology. Red Herring’s editorial staff evaluated more than 700 private companies.

“Market obstacles remain, but our list shows that great companies are being created in Europe,” said Red Herring editor-in-chief Joel Dreyfuss.

European market: EPIC (European Photonics Industry Consortium; Paris, France), has published a new market study, “Laser Applications in Europe,” based upon findings from a top-level workshop held in Dresden, Germany in November 2005. The workshop focused on tactics and strategies for doubling the market volume of high-power industrial laser sales by 2010. “Laser Applications in Europe” combines the results of this workshop with state of the art market analysis for high-power industrial lasers. EPIC, the European Laser Institute, and Kienbaum Management Consultants carried out an in-depth analysis to identify and evaluate significant opportunities and challenges for the European Laser community, with particular emphasis on macro- and micro-processing, marking, engraving, and biophotonics.

For each field of application, the relevant laser technologies are shortly introduced, representative examples are given, and advantages, future developments, and trends are pointed out. The relevant markets are identified and characterized in terms of volume, development, trends, main success factors and market entry barriers. Comparing the laser’s characteristics and advantages with the users’/markets’ requirements is the basis for assessing the most promising combinations of laser applications and target markets.

For further details, see www.epic-assoc.com.

PhAST approaching: Photonic Applications, Systems & Technologies 2006 (PhAST) will take place in Long Beach, CA from May 22-25 as part of the CLEO/QELS conference. PhAST features previews of new photonic application areas, one-on-one access to industry innovators and discussions of the engineering ideas behind new products. The conference, which will include an extensive exhibit floor, invited speakers and specialized business programming, allows attendees to receive a complete industry overview from prominent scientists and researchers. Highlights include:

-Keynote (Monday, May 22). Dr. Robert Leheny, Deputy Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

-Other invited speakers from the Department of Homeland Security, Hewlett-Packard, GE, Massachusetts General Hospital and JDSU, who will host interactive discussions on topics ranging from lasers in manufacturing and photonics in homeland and national security to biophotonics instrumentation, nanophotonics, and remote sensing.

-”Business and Management Insights Power Lunch” (May 23).

-”The Future of Imaging” (May 23). Private press/analyst press luncheon featuring most promising applications for optics and photonics in imaging.

For more information, visit www.phastconference.org.

ESA contract: Modulight (Tampere, Finland) received a US$364,000 contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop lasers eventually targeted for the subsequent onboard atomic clock upgrades for a second generation system of the European satellite navigation mission Galileo. The lasers will be developed for realizing compact laser pumped Cs-beam atomic clocks, which are expected to be key elements in the upgraded navigation system technology. When the first generation Galileo system is fully deployed after 2010, it will consist of 30 satellites in medium earth orbit MEO. Atomic clocks are also widely used in commercial telecom and testing equipment where the developed new compact laser based atomic clocks will have a significant market potential.

“By improving the clock performance on board the satellite over the long-term, the need to correct the on-board clocks by more accurate ground clocks could be minimized. The technology to enable this is the laser pumped versions of the atomic clocks now in commercial use vis-à-vis Rubidium Atomic clocks and caesium beam clocks,” said the technical officer from the European Space Agency.

Submit your news to Optoelectronics Report. Sales reports, market outlooks, and strategic moves are just a few of the items we would like you to share. Please fax information to Kathy Kincade at (603) 891-0475 or send e-mail to kkincade@alamedanet.net.

Optics patent: Ophthonix (San Diego, CA), a company producing high definition vision technology that provides consumers with superior optical clarity and crispness compared to any other available vision correction, has received an 11th patent, this one covering what the company says is a dramatically different approach to correcting aberrations across virtually any optical system, including telescopes, binoculars, cameras, microscopes, and eyeglasses. According to the company, conventional efforts to reducing aberrations in an optical system rely on polishing and grinding of the lens. These processes are limited because they are unable to effectively address all aberrations in a simultaneous fashion.

“Conventional manufacturing methods are too ineffective and inefficient to fully address the complexity and sophistication of the broad range of optical products in the market,” said Andreas Dreher, Ph.D., CEO and president of Ophthonix. By exposing its proprietary material, iZonik, to a controlled light source, Ophthonix says it is able to address all aberrations of any optical system in a very unique manner. The covered technology may be particularly useful in correcting static aberrations in just about any optical imaging system, such as telescopes or even cameras. Additionally, the technology may be employed to correct aberrations in laser beams or associated optics in detection or even communication instruments.

Patent lawsuits: Unaxis Optics (Balzers, Liechtenstein), a developer of thin film optical components for projection displays and related markets, has established a licensing program for its patented ColorWheels technology. While multiple market players have lawfully licensed Unaxis’ ColorWheel technology, more recently lawsuits for patent infringement have been filed against ProDisc Technology and Delta Electronics, both Taiwanese companies. Respective complaints have been filed with the German Landgericht Düsseldorf.

Eye-laser merger: OccuLogix (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) has initiated its expansion into the glaucoma space by signing a letter of intent to acquire SOLX (Boston, MS). Based at the Boston University Photonics Center, SOLX is a privately held company that has developed a laser system for the treatment of glaucoma. While financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, OccuLogix will provide SOLX with a $2 million bridge loan and expects substantially all of the purchase price of SOLX to be paid in OccuLogix stock.

European liaison : Gary Colquhoun has joined SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering (Bellingham, WA ; Cardiff, UK) as the SPIE Europe Industry Services Liaison. Colquhoun has seven years of industrial experience in advanced optoelectronics and product development and a further two in economic development. His duties will include identifying the key optics and photonics industry groups and companies in Europe and increasing SPIE’s overall corporate database of European entities.

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