Fiber revenue tripling: For the quarter ended September 30, 2006, Sterlite Optical Technologies (Mumbai, India)-India’s only integrated optical fiber manufacturer and global provider of telecom cables and power transmission conductors-announced a tripling in net revenues to $85.3 million compared to $27.9 million in the same quarter last year. According to Sterlite, recent quarters signal a revival in global demand for optical fibers with annual demand in 2006 estimated to grow over 25% globally at over 25% and reach 90-100 million km; Sterlite plans to increase the manufacturing capacity at its optical fiber plant from 4 to 6 million km.
Internet2 selects Infinera: The Infinera (Sunnyvale, CA) DTN-the switched wavelength-division-multiplexing or WDM network-has been selected by Internet2 (www.internet2.edu) for metro network extensions to Internet2’s new national backbone network. This extension will allow Internet2 to expand the reach of the national network into key international exchange points in major cities including New York City, Chicago, and Seattle. The metro networks will provide Internet2 members additional connectivity points to Internet2’s international partners providing better access to international research networks and leading-edge international scientific projects like the Large Hadron Collider operated by CERN in Switzerland.
EPIC anniversary: The European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) is celebrating its 3rd anniversary. EPIC was founded on December 12, 2003, by five major players in European photonics: Aixtron, Cambridge Display Technology, Osram Opto-Semiconductors, Philips Lighting, and Sagem Défense Securité. EPIC has been instrumental in the creation of Photonics21, the European Photonics Technology Platform that was launched in December 2005. EPIC general secretary Thomas P. Pearsall is scheduled to speak about European photonics markets and opportunities at the Laser Focus World Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar, being held during Photonics West on Monday, January 22, 2007, in San Jose, CA (see www.marketplaceseminar.com).
KTN appointment: The UK Consortium for Photonics and Optics has appointed Alastair Wilson as Director of the recently formed Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). Launched in July as one of the family of KTNs being sponsored by the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Photonics KTN has funding of $6.5 million for the first three years. It is designed to bring together businesses, research and technology organizations, trade associations, the financial market, and academia across the optics and photonics community. Wilson commented on his new appointment, “I am very thrilled and excited by the opportunity to lead the Photonics KTN and to ensure it enables the UK photonics industry to be the most competitive and innovative in the world.”
Laser revenue decrease: Ionatron (Tucson, AZ), a Laser Guided Energy (LGE) company developing next-generation Directed Energy Weapons, reported a revenue loss for the quarter ended September 30, 2006. Revenue for the third quarter of 2006 was $1.5 million, compared to $6.2 million for the same period last year. Revenue for the nine-months ended September 30, 2006 was $8.6 million, compared to $12.7 million for the same period last year. The company said that the decrease in revenue was primarily attributed to the completion of certain Ionatron government contracts began in 2005 and substantially completed in early 2006 related to its counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Device) technologies and slower than originally expected contract awards for its core LGE-related projects.
Healthy imaging revenue: Andor Technology (Belfast, Northern Ireland), developer and manufacturer of industrial and scientific digital cameras, announced preliminary financials for the year ended 30 September 2006, including turnover up 22%, a 57% EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) increase, and that diluted earnings per share were up 79%, along with a healthy order book with over $7.8 million in the pipeline. Other Andor highlights for the period included launch of its first global sales catalog to over 18,000 customers, opening of its first representative office in Beijing, China, a 24% volume increase in camera manufacturing to 1500 units, and a score of 88.4% for overall customer satisfaction in its biennial global customer survey.
Solar IPO: First Solar (Phoenix, AZ) raised $400 million in its initial public offering (IPO) of 20,000,000 shares of common stock at $20 per share. The 20,000,000 shares include 6,750,000 shares that are to be sold by certain stockholders of the Company. The shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “FSLR.”
First Solar has integrated thin-film semiconductor technology with automated production to manufacture solar modules that the company says are among the lowest cost in the world. First Solar seeks to enable solar electricity to achieve price parity with conventional energy, reducing fossil fuel dependence, greenhouse gas emissions, and peak time grid constraints.
OLED solar license: Organic light-emitting device (OLED) manufacturer Novaled AG and organic-based photovoltaic company Heliatek GmbH (both in Dresden, Germany) have entered into a licensing agreement concerning the use of Novaled OLED technology for solar cell applications. Under the agreement, Heliatek will develop organic solar cells using the power efficiency given by Novaled technologies and Novaled unique molecular dopants; both companies will cooperate on further developing the organic-based photovoltaic technologies. “Organic solar cells will become the new generation of solar cells,” said Harald Eggers, Heliatek CEO. “The Novaled technology and the cooperation with Novaled will give us a strong competitive advantage for our products.”
Metal-marking agreement: Ferro Corporation (Cleveland, OH) and DataLase (Widnes, UK) have signed a distribution agreement and will develop and market a special laser-markable aerosol containing the DataLase pigment for applying variable information onto metal or painted-metal parts. This agreement covers the US, Canada, and Mexico and will be launched to the market in December 2006. The new spray-targeting the automotive, aerospace and appliances industry-will be applied onto metal parts using an aerosol and after it has been exposed to a portable low-power CO2 DataLase-approved laser, it will undergo a chemical reaction in the pigment turning it from white to black.
Siemens honor: The Werner-von-Siemens-Ring Stiftung [Foundation] awarded German entrepreneur Professor Berthold Leibinger Germany’s most important technology award. The Werner-von-Siemens Ring is awarded every three years to “pioneers in technology.” This year it was awarded in the presence of the president of the Federal Republic of Germany in Berlin.
Leibinger received the award “in honor of his contributions to the innovative development and successful entrepreneurial implementation of the technologies for flexible sheet metal processing and industrial laser technology,” Professor Ernst O. Göbel, president of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and chairman of the Foundation Committee, said regarding the jury’s decision.