Optics Inudustry Report

June 1, 2004
Zygo to supply beamsplitter to Lincoln Lab; BTG seeks licensees for Corning molding process; APA Optics sells manufacturing assets; MORE...

Zygo to supply beamsplitter to Lincoln Lab

Zygo (Middlefield, CT) received an order from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory to supply the large-beam splitter assembly (LBSA) for use in a high-precision terrestrial laboratory-based optical test bed. The LBSA consists of a large-beam splitter mounted in a large-beam splitter mount to provide precision pointing and stabilization of a high-power, high-quality laser beam for testing of free-space laser-communication transceivers. Under this agreement, Zygo Optical Systems (Costa Mesa, CA) will act as the prime contractor and perform the LBSA system design, integration, and testing; the beamsplitter will be fabricated in Zygo's advanced optics facility in Middlefield.

BTG seeks licensees for Corning molding process

BTG (West Conshohocken, PA) and Corning (Corning, NY) signed a representation agreement whereby BTG will seek licensees on behalf of Corning for a portfolio of Corning patents related to a widely used glass molding process. The molded glass process, developed by Corning in the mid-1980s, is commonly used to make aspheric glass lenses for digital cameras, optical disc storage devices, laser printers and optical communications systems. Potential applications for this technology include lens and illumination systems, telecommunications, copiers, scanners, printers, medical devices, automotive, eyewear, PCs, and DVDs.

"Several companies, including Fuji, Tamron, and NSG, have already taken licenses, and this agreement demonstrates our commitment to actively license our intellectual property portfolio," said Mark Newhouse, vice president, strategic growth, at Corning.

APA Optics sells manufacturing assets

APA Optics (Blaine, MN) sold certain assets related to its discontinued optics manufacturing segment to PNE (Litchfield, MN; dba IRD) for an undisclosed amount of cash. PNE will sublease a small portion of APA's Blaine facility for up to one year to conduct optics manufacturing with the purchased assets. APA designs, develops, manufactures and markets advanced products for fiberoptic communications, including dense wavelength-division multiplexing components and gallium nitride compound semiconductor–based ultraviolet detectors, instruments, and consumer products.

Lockheed Martin completes optical-bench tests for ABL

Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, MD) completed factory testing of the optical benches for the Airborne Laser's beam-control/fire-control (BC/FC) system. The Airborne Laser (ABL) is the first megawatt-class laser weapon system to be carried on a specially configured 747-400F aircraft, designed to autonomously detect, track, and destroy hostile ballistic missiles. The BC/FC system will point, focus, and fire the laser to provide sufficient energy to destroy the missile.

Lockheed Martin completed functional and performance testing of the two major elements of the BC/FC system—the Multi-Beam Illuminator and the Beam Transfer Assembly—at its Sunnyvale, CA, facility, where the complete BC/FC system is configured in the same design as it will be installed in the airplane. One of the major functions of the BC/FC is to compensate for the operating environment, which requires a network of lasers, mirrors, and precision optics combined with real-time software to manage the process.

Lockheed Martin performed extensive testing to verify that the system accurately controls every mirror at operational data rates. According to the company, the tests validated that the BC/FC system is capable of acquiring a target, initiating tracking of the target, initiating atmospheric compensation, firing the high-energy laser, and shutting down the system while maintaining beam quality and accuracy.

Also in the news . . .

Bruker Optics (The Woodlands, TX) is considering building a manufacturing facility next to its office, creating 25 new jobs in the next two years and expanding the company to 40 employees. The company's long-term goal is to employ 150 people at the 37,000-sq-ft facility. . . . Janos Technology (Townshend, VT) has hired Robert Winkler to take on the newly created position of Systems Sales Engineer. Winkler has more than 20 years of experience in engineering, most recently at Corning's Diamond Turning Division in Keene, NH. . . . Molecular Imprints (Austin, TX), a manufacturer of step and flash imprint lithography (S-FIL) equipment, was awarded $36 million by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for a project to establish the necessary technology infrastructure associated with the S-FIL process. The venture partners include KLA-Tencor (San Jose, CA), Photronics (Brookfield, CT), Motorola Labs (Schaumburg, IL), and the University of Texas at Austin.

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