News Briefs

Oct. 15, 2006
Cluster gets Canadian funding: The federal government of Canada says it is awarding $643,608 in non-repayable funding to support the activities of the Quebec Photonic Network (QPN; Montreal, QC, Canada).

Cluster gets Canadian funding: The federal government of Canada says it is awarding $643,608 in non-repayable funding to support the activities of the Quebec Photonic Network (QPN; Montreal, QC, Canada). The QPN is a non-profit industrial cluster whose mandate is to contribute to the advancement of the Quebec optics-photonics industry. An active member of the Canadian Photonics Consortium, the QPN is involved in the joint development of a number of international activities. Today, the QPN and the Ottawa Photonics Cluster together account for one of the highest concentrations of photonics enterprises in Canada, all within a corridor of 500 km.

DEA selects Newport: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has ordered seven Reveal laser systems from Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). Introduced by Newport’s Spectra-Physics Lasers Division in November 2005, Reveal is a portable high-power laser for crime scene and lab investigation. Min Chen, product manager for Newport’s Spectra-Physics Lasers Division, said, “Before the introduction of the portable Reveal system, investigators were forced to rely on lower performance alternative light sources to detect evidence. By using our Reveal system, agencies like the DEA can bring laser-based technology out into the field, potentially uncovering more evidence, with the ability to document it right at the scene of the crime.”

SBIR Phase II Award: New Wave Research (Fremont, CA), a manufacturer of advanced lasers and laser-based systems for the microelectronics and analytical instrumentation industries, was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the Department of Energy (DOE) to design, develop and build a next-generation ultraviolet (UV) femtosecond laser-ablation mass-spectrometry system for the DOE’s Nuclear and Radiological National Security Program. The award follows the successful completion of this Phase I SBIR contract won by New Wave Research last year. The program’s objective is to create a low-cost, compact, turnkey solution; current systems are considered prohibitively expensive and bulky, and require highly skilled operators.

QCL license agreement: Cascade Technologies (Stirling, Scotland) signed a licensing deal with Lucent Technologies. Cascade has developed and patented a real-time technology for the detection of gas, emissions, and explosives through its use of quantum cascade lasers (QCLs), which were first developed and patented by Lucent in its laboratories in the United States in 1994. The agreement with Lucent will enable Cascade to source its lasers from manufacturers anywhere throughout the world. The deal was welcomed by Nicol Stephen MSP, Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, who said, “Today’s ground-breaking deal with Lucent is excellent news for the company, but also for the reputation of Scottish businesses abroad.”

OSA elects VP: The members of the Optical Society of America (OSA; Washington, DC) have elected Thomas Baer, executive director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center at Stanford University, as its 2007 vice president. During this year’s vote, Thomas Elsaesser, Max-Born Institute (Germany), Lenore McMackin, nLine Corp (Austin, TX), and Philip Russell, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany), were also elected as new directors at large. By accepting the vice presidency, Baer makes a four-year commitment to OSA’s board of directors. As vice president, Baer will automatically become president elect in 2008 and then the Society’s president in 2009. The new directors at large will hold their positions for three years.

Frost & Sullivan Award: Privately held semiconductor company Avago Technologies (Böblingen, Germany) was awarded the 2006 North American Optoelectronic Components Growth Excellence Award by Frost & Sullivan, a global consulting company. Avago Technologies is a leading supplier of innovative semiconductor solutions for advanced communications, industrial and commercial applications. Criteria included the ability to grow in a saturated or maturing market, annual market share growth, implementing unique sales strategies to increase market share and revenue growth, product innovation, and effective management of existing product portfolio, among other factors.

More Powerlase partners: Following an earlier announcement that The Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) purchased Powerlase (Crawley, England) Starlase lasers to advance the development of applications in laser-produced plasma (LPP), Powerlase is announcing a partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the field of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography to further the development of high-power laser-produced plasma EUV sources. Powerlase has already provided UCF with its kilo-class Starlase laser to irradiate the UCF’s tin-doped micro-droplet laser plasma source. The combination of a high EUV conversion efficiency and the elimination of neutral and charged particles is the aim of this collaborative work.

U.S. laser office: Time-Bandwidth Products AG (Zurich, Switzerland), an OEM supplier of customized ultrafast diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers enabled by its patented SESAM technology, opened a U.S. office in Westfield, MA for sales and customer support of the Northern American market effective October 1st 2006.

Time-Bandwidth VP of sales and marketing, Alain Bourdon, will work closely with the Swiss-based headquarters to meet the needs and requirements of the North American market. Bourdon brings more than 20 years of expertise in the laser field and has worked together with Time-Bandwidth as its Northern American distributor during the last 5 years.

Surgery safer than contacts: Comparing data from several recent studies, an Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU; Portland, OR) Casey Eye Institute professor and physician found that laser surgery is safer than contact lenses to correct vision problems. William Mathers, M.D., professor of ophthalmology in the OHSU School of Medicine, reviewed several large, peer-reviewed studies and found a greater chance of suffering vision loss from contact lenses than from laser vision correction surgery, also known as “refractive” surgery. His findings are published in a letter in the October 9 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

Optical sensing field trials: NP Photonics (Tucson, AZ), designer and manufacturer of narrow-linewidth single-frequency lasers, has begun to deliver multi-laser systems for field trials in the oil field and security markets. Upon successful completion of these trials, this technology will be part of multimillion-dollar installations. Optical sensing critically important in oil & gas, homeland security, and industrial markets where the measurement of distance, temperature, and/or pressure is required for a broad range of applications. To be suitable for these applications, the lasers need to be insensitive to vibration and have the lowest possible phase noise. NP’s recently developed technology achieves both of these objectives.

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