News Briefs

Materials merger

CERAC (Milwaukee, WI), which has been manufacturing specialty inorganic chemicals, evaporation materials, and sputtering targets since 1964, has been acquired by Williams Advanced Materials (WAM; Buffalo, NY), a subsidiary of publicly held Brush Engineered Materials. CERAC will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of WAM, continuing to manufacture specialty inorganic chemicals and thin film materials under the CERAC name at its facility in Milwaukee. Bart Ott, CERAC’s former VP of sales and marketing, has been appointed VP and general manager.

DoD contract

Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ) recently received $2.8 million in U.S. Department of Defense ManTech funding for the development of advanced manufacturing tools vital to producing complex conformal and advanced optical elements such as aspheres. Geared primarily at advances in precision glass molding technology, the initial objective will be to create low cost tooling methods critical to low and mid volume lens production runs needed by many DoD programs. Edmund Optics in conjunction with the US Army Benet Weapons Lab will manage the project at the Edmund Optics Advanced Optics Manufacturing Facility (Pennsburg, PA). Design engineering and assembly technologies will be co-developed at the Edmund Optics’ corporate headquarters in Barrington and design center in Tucson, AZ.

Testing, testing

According to news reports, Ophir (Jerusalum, Israel), a provider of optical test and measurement equipment, has acquired laser beam diagnostics specialist Spiricon (Logan, UT) for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to close before the end of January. The acquisition includes Spiricon’s sister companies Spiricon Power Products, which makes optical power meters, and Spiricon GmbH in Germany.

LED divestiture

Fairchild Semiconductor has sold its LED and LED display product lines to Everlight International Corporation, a US subsidiary of Everlight Electronics of Taiwan. Fairchild will retain its optocoupler and infrared product lines, intending to grow those businesses through focused research and development. As part of the sale agreement, Fairchild will assist Everlight with transitioning the product line by continuing to directly support the sale of LED and LED display products to its customers for an appropriate period of time. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“By divesting these LED and display products, Fairchild is continuing to sharpen its focus on its core businesses,” said Mark Thompson, president and CEO of Fairchild. “We will continue to concentrate our internal investments towards developing our higher value analog and system power optimization products. We are retaining the optocoupler and infrared product lines as these products are closer to and complement our core strategy.”

Venture capital

Lumics GmbH (Berlin, Germany), a manufacturer of laser modules raised 5.5 million euros (US$6.6 million) so that it can increase production capacity, develop laser diode technology, and expand sales internationally. The finance round was led by a consortium of investors including: Falk Strascheg Holding GmbH, eCapital Technologies Fonds II GmbH & Co. KG, MAZ Seed Invest GmbH and VC Fonds Berlin GmbH. Lumics says it is reducing the operating costs associated with the deployment of high power diode lasers due to a patented manufacturing process for the creation of highly reliable components.

In related news, Israeli start-up Kailight Photonics has completed a $4.5 million financing round led by Hyperion Israel Partners, which made its first investment in the company. Other investors in the round included Lucent Venture Partners, Ofer Brothers High-Tech Group, Peregrine Ventures, and an undisclosed optical communications manufacturer. Kailight develops components for fiberoptic communications.

Sad news

Pascal Didier, former president and COO of Cymer (San Diego, CA) passed away January 5 at the age of 47. Didier, who served most recently as the company’s strategy advisor, was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. He is survived by his wife, Patricia and daughter, Cindy. In honor of Didier, and as part of a program to commemorate its 20th anniversary, Cymer is pledging $175,000 in the form of two scholarships to the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). One of the scholarships was named for Didier.

Diode manufacturing

Shenzhen Century Epitech of South China’s Guangdong province has been approved to launch a semiconductor laser unit project in Guangming High-tech Industry Park, Shenzhen City, according to Asia Pulse. The project, costing a total of about $37.2 million (US), is scheduled for completion by 2007, with a projected annual output of 20 million semiconductors. The company plans to introduce primary equipment from overseas, including the single crystal growth furnace, cutterbar, grinder, and inspection equipment.

Promissory note

Photonic Products Group, Inc. (PPGI; Northvale, NJ) received $700,000 in proceeds from the issuance of a secured promissory note to a major shareholder, Clarex Holdings. According to Dan Lehrfeld, president and CEO of PPGI, the company is deploying the proceeds from this note immediately into acquisition of additional capital assets, which will enable PPGI to address a range of organic growth opportunities at its Laser Optics and MRC Optics businesses.

“Our Laser Optics business unit is expanding its lens and lens assembly production operations with the addition of state-of-the-art CNC lens generating, polishing, centering, and edging equipment and related metrology,” Lehrfeld said. “This newest manufacturing cell will be operational in February of 2006. At MRC Optics we are augmenting our lens metrology and production capabilities for single-point diamond-turned aspheric lenses.”

New president

Janos Technology (Keene, NH), a developer and manufacturer of infrared optical lenses and assemblies and advanced IR optics, appointed Harvey Clough as president. Prior to joining Janos Technology, Clough was president and COO of Energy Sciences (Wilmington, MA), a machinery manufacturer; he also previously held positions in manufacturing, quality, and engineering management at GE Lighting.

InP foundry report

The Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA; Washington, D.C.) has published “The Challenge for InP Photonic Development and the Optical Foundry,” a report based on industry presentations, videos, discussions, and conclusions from a workshop held November 3, 2005, in Washington, D.C. The report was prepared by WSR Optical Device Solutions LLC and will be available to all OIDA members in early February.

According to Michael Lebby, OIDA’s executive director, the report identifies the challenges faced by the InP device market and provides suggestions on how the various players in the industry-large optoelectronics companies, foundry companies, start ups and government and regulatory agencies-can work together to make this market more profitable.


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