News Briefs

New president: Laser-industry veteran Manfred Augustin has been named president of Laser 2000 (Munich, Germany), the largest European distributor of lasers and optoelectronic components.

New president: Laser-industry veteran Manfred Augustin has been named president of Laser 2000 (Munich, Germany), the largest European distributor of lasers and optoelectronic components. He took over the helm at the beginning of October. Armin Luft, who founded Laser 2000 in 1986 and has been its CEO ever since, will remain with the company, but Augustin is now handling the day-to-day operations. Prior to taking over at Laser 2000, Augustin was the European manager of sales and marketing for Novalux; over the last 20 years, he has also held key positions with Coherent, Carl Zeiss Meditec, and JDSU.

Joining forces: Gamma Scientific (San Diego, CA), a leading manufacturer of light-measurement instrumentation, has joined forces with UDT Instruments, a provider of electro-optical instruments, to create a comprehensive light-measurement solutions resource. Under this arrangement, UDT Instruments becomes a division of Gamma Scientific and has integrated its R&D, manufacturing and customer-support capabilities into Gamma Scientific’s San Diego headquarters.

OEM partners: Color Kinetics (Boston, MA) and ARRI (Munich, Germany) have formed an agreement through which ARRI will use Color Kinetics’ technology and intellectual property to develop a line of LED-based studio lighting products. Slated for availability this year, the products will be ARRI’s first to incorporate LED sources, delivering the benefits of efficiency, durability and digital control for film lighting applications.

New CTO: Tawee Tanbun-Ek, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts in laser manufacturing, has been named CTO of Fabrinet (Bangkok, Thailand), a global engineering and manufacturing services provider of complex optical and electro-mechanical components, modules, and bulk optics. Leveraging 25 years of experience in the design, epitaxial growth, and manufacturing of optoelectronic devices, Tanbun-Ek will introduce and oversee new technology strategy for Fabrinet. He joins Fabrinet from AdTech Optics, Inc., a company focusing on laser diode manufacturing, which he co-founded and served as vice president of engineering. He holds 10 U.S. patents and four European patents and has authored more than 230 publications.

Lunar spectroscopy: Polychromix (Wilmington, MA), a developer of innovative spectroscopy solutions, is collaborating with NASA to provide digital transform spectrometer tools for determining water content on the surface of the moon. Under the agreement, NASA will outfit the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) with Polychromix near-infrared spectrometers. The Polychromix near-infrared spectrometer will be included in the research vehicle to identify the presence of water ice at the Moon’s South Pole. The mission will consist of dropping a payload onto the moon’s South Pole to produce a material cloud that can be analyzed.

IP portfolio: JDSU (Milpitas, CA) has acquired the technology and patent portfolio of Metconnex (Ottawa, ON, Canada), a developer of wavelength selective switch (WSS) modules. JDSU did not acquire any of Metconnex’s business operations. Under the terms of the agreement, JDSU will acquire Metconnex’s intellectual property for $2.5 million. In connection with the acquisition and the liquidation of Metconnex, both parties agreed to dismiss all pending litigation including litigation commenced by JDSU against Metconnex and certain of its officers and employees for alleged violation of JDSU patent and intellectual property rights.

"We will continue to use our extensive portfolio of patents and proprietary technology to enable broadband and optical innovation in all parts of the world," said Matthew Fawcett, general counsel for JDSU. “WSS technology is central to JDSU’s portfolio of reconfigurable add/drop multiplexers, which are increasingly used by carriers to enable the rapid, cost-effective roll out of triple-play services.”

JWST filters: Barr Associates (Westford, MA) was selected by Lockheed Martin to provide filters for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam). NIRCam is a filter-based instrument covering the spectral range of 0.6 to 5.0 microns. The principle investigator for NIRCam is Marcia Reike of the University of Arizona, while the manufacture, integration, and testing will be handled by the Advanced Technology Center of Lockheed Martin. Barr is responsible for the design, manufacture, and testing of the full compliment of 30 filters.

International merger: StockerYale (Salem, NH) has acquired privately held Photonic Products(UK), a provider of laser diodes and modules for industrial, medical and scientific markets for $9.4 million in cash, stock, and bonds. Stocker Yale says the acquisition will broaden its product portfolio of laser modules, increase its 2006 revenues by approximately 50%, and should improve both profitability and cash flow. Photonic Products manufactures custom electro-optical sub-assemblies and optoelectronic components based on semiconductor laser diode technology for OEM manufacturers. It is also a distributor of industrial laser diodes, including blue-violet, red and infrared laser diodes from Sanyo, Sony, and Opnext, and lenses from Panasonic. For the year ending December 31, 2006, Photonic Products expects sales to hit $9.5 million.

Infrared detectors: Sofradir (Veurey-Voroize, France), a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors, announced today that it has signed a 1 million Euros (US$1.3 million) contract with a worldwide supplier of electro-optic space and defense systems. Under the contract, Sofradir will provide large format, 30-um pixel pitch shortwave infrared detectors for hyperspectral application in airborne platforms. The mercury-cadmium telluride focal-plane array (FPA) to be supplied is one of the largest monolithic formats on the market, and Sofradir is the only manufacturer to have a space-qualified FPA of this size available, off-the-shelf.

Mid-IR OPO: M Squared Lasers (Glasgow, Scotland) intends to develop a range of compact, efficient and cost-effective mid-IR sources, based on novel intra-cavity mid-IR optical parametric oscillator (OPO) technology developed by the University of St. Andrews. Developed jointly by the Photonics Innovation Centre ( & Nonlinear Optics Group ( at St Andrews, the OPO incorporates significant advances in the compactness and efficiency of this class of device, by virtue of an integrated diode-pumped pump laser, and intra-cavity conversion of the nanosecond pump pulses to parametric wavelengths.

Online employment: PennWell Corporation (Tulsa, OK) has created a new online employment service, PennTechJOBS. The employment website will serve the recruitment needs of engineers working in the following industries: Communications, Electronics, Photonics, Optoelectronics, Military Aerospace, Nanotechnology and Semiconductor Manufacturing. The website can be accessed at

PennTechJOBS initially launched with 2000 job postings from more than 25 industry employers, including Advanced Micro Devices, AIM Products, Arrow Electronics, ATI, Bechtel, BinOptics, Boeing, Fairchild Semiconductor, ITT, JDS Uniphase, Juki Automation, Nano Dynamics, PerkinElmer Opto electronics, Polatis, SRA, and Texas Instruments. The job postings cover both domestic and international positions requiring experienced industry engineers for Assembly, Design, Production, Quality Control, and Research & Development.

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