Optics Industry Report

CVI Laser (Albuquerque, NM) has won a contract valued at more than $1 million to supply mounts for laser optic assemblies to the National ­Ignition Facility (NIF) operated by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA).

CVI wins $1 million NIF contract

CVI Laser (Albuquerque, NM) has won a contract valued at more than $1 million to supply mounts for laser optic assemblies to the National ­Ignition Facility (NIF) operated by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA). The contract, which runs through 2007, includes a variety of custom-designed mounts designed to reduce wavefront distortion for the project’s Injection Laser System.

“We are pleased to be chosen as a key supplier for the groundbreaking work being performed at NIF. We are particularly excited that we were chosen for our mounting/assembly technology. We have very good mounts which generate the least wavefront distortion in the industry,” said Bob Soales, vice president of sales and marketing.

In related news, CVI has transferred its optical-mount design and manufacturing expertise to its Albuquerque manufacturing facility. CVI’s optical mounts are designed to hold optical lenses, filters, prisms, mirrors, and other complex optical elements.

SBIR contract targets thin-film coatings

MetaStable Instruments (St. Peters, MO) won a $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the Missile Defense Agency to develop a new instrument for measuring the very low absorption of light by thin-film optical coatings. Coatings on laser windows and mirrors absorb only a tiny fraction of the laser light, but with high-power lasers that is enough to heat them so they distort the beam or fracture. MetaStable will investigate low-power, total-internal-reflection waveguide measurements  of absorption to assist coating manufacturers in lowering the absorption. Lower absorption coatings will benefit laser weapons, high-power industrial lasers and high-precision optical instruments, such as interferometers used to detect gravity waves.

ASML and Micron team up on photomasks

ASML MaskTools, (Santa Clara, CA), and Micron Technology (Boise, ID) signed a comprehensive multiyear business agreement to enhance the capability of lithography tools by focusing on low-k1 imaging solutions at and below the 95-nm node. As part of the agreement, Micron acquired a global license for ASML MaskTools’ intellectual property portfolio for volume production use in Micron fabs.

The collaboration relates to creating and improving practical applications for resolution-enhancement techniques.

Large Binocular ­Telescope dedicated

The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) project was honored in dedication ­ceremonies held in Tucson, AZ, on Oct. 15. The $120 million LBT is located on Mount Graham near Safford, AZ. When fully operational in 2005, it will be the most technologically advanced ground-based telescope in the world. The LBT utilizes twin 8.4-m (27.6-ft) "honeycomb" mirrors that sit on a single mount. The mirrors are more rigid and lighter weight than conventional solid-glass mirrors and together will collect more light than any existing ­single telescope. The telescope is also equipped with adaptive-optics secondary mirrors, which correct in real time the wavefront distortion and, hence, image blurring caused by atmospheric turbulence.

Kollmorgen to provide optical sight systems for the U.S. Navy

Kollmorgen Electro Optical of Northampton, Mass., will provide five MK46 Mod 1 optical sight systems under terms of a $6.9 million contract from the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command. The MK46 Mod 1 optical sight system is a two-axis, gyro-stabilized, sensor with a color daylight-imaging sensor, 3- to 5-micro thermal imaging sensor, eye-safe laser rangefinder, and an automatic video tracker.

Also in the news . . .

Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) was awarded a four-year, $9.5 million contract by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop an advanced microsystem that will make the design, engineering and fabrication of next-generation advanced silicon integrated circuits faster, more economical and with increased security for military applications such as transformational communications and homeland security. Lucent will design, develop and demonstrate MEMS-based spatial-light modulators to enable maskless optical lithography. . . . The Lasermetrics division of FastPulse Technology (Saddle Brook, NJ) has entered into a multiyear contract to provide proprietary optical laser gating systems for the National Ignition Facility (Livermore, CA). . . . Molecular Imprints (Austin, TX), a manufacturer of step and flash (S-FIL) imprint lithography, has opened a European office in Aalen, Germany. This office will offer technology and applications support for regional customers and for MII’s exclusive European distributor, Carl Zeiss NTS.

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