Optics Industry Report

April 1, 2004
BU partners with French optics consortium; Adaptive optics locate larger stars; Melles opens coating technology center; MORE...

BU partners with French optics consortium

A joint initiative has been set up between the Boston University (BU; Boston, MA) Photonics Center and France's Opticsvalley, a consortium of optics and photonics companies, to foster the establishment of French start-up optics and photonics companies in the United States. The Photonics Center provides support for emerging photonics technology companies, through a joint program with Beacon Photonics, a venture capital development company formed by BU, the Photonics Center, and the investment firm GlobalVest Management. Since being established in 1997, the center has participated in the launch of 17 technology-commercialization companies, which together have raised nearly $200 million from outside private-equity sources.

Adaptive optics locate larger stars

Scientists from the University of California–Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL; Livermore, CA), in conjunction with astrophysicists from the California Institute of Technology, UC-Santa Cruz, the National Science Foundation's Center for Adaptive Optics and UC's Lick Observatory, have observed that distant larger stars formed in flattened accretion disks just like the Sun. The team was able to determine that some of the relatively young yet massive Herbig Ae/Be stars contain biconical nebulae, polarized jets and circumstellar disks. Less massive stars including the sun are believed to be formed in a swirling spherical cloud that collapses into a disk. The adaptive optics system enables astronomers to minimize the blurring effects of the Earth's atmosphere by using light from a relatively bright star to measure the atmospheric distortions and to correct for them.

Melles opens coating technology center

Melles Griot Optics Group (Rochester, NY) has commissioned a new Coating Technology Center. The new facility includes four advanced high-volume vacuum deposition systems, including plasma-assisted evaporation; enhanced, automated, lens-element cleaning systems; and a 900-ft, Class-1000, lens-inspection and deep-UV coating area. At the heart of this new facility is the Leybold SYRUSpro 1100, a multilayer coating system optimized for precision lens-coating applications down to 193 nm.

Edmund Optics adds MRF capabilities

Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ) has launched a new magnetorheological finishing (MRF) optical-polishing capability at its headquarters in Barrington. According to the company, MRF technology is easily adjustable and conforms to the optic's design, allowing precise polishing of plano, spherical and aspheric surfaces. In addition, it can polish many different materials, including most optical glasses and single crystals such as calcium fluoride, making it ideal for visible and near-IR optics.

In related news, Edmund Optics appointed Walter Czajkowski global vice president of manufacturing. Czajkowski will be in charge of Edmund's global manufacturing sites, including those in Pennsburg, PA, Singapore, and Shanghai, China.

Olympus opens optical foundry

Olympus Partnership Development Group (OPDG; San Jose, CA) has established a new optical foundry. The foundry will include Olympus' aspherical lens research, development, and products and additional products and will complement Olympus' existing MEMS foundry by offering OEM optics, optical design, prototyping, manufacturing, integration, and testing for MEMS-based modules. According to Lawrence Wang, OPDG vice president, companies will now have the option of outsourcing to one or both foundries in designing, developing, and manufacturing their MEMS-based modules. The MEMS foundry can deliver the MEMS subassembly by designing and building the MEMS device and also integrating the drive electronics using flipchip, wire bonding, and wafer bonding processes. The Optical Foundry can then design an optimized optical system to integrate with the MEMS subassembly.

Also in the news . . .

The Whitaker Foundation has awarded the University of Rochester's (NY) Department of Biomedical Engineering a $3 million grant for construction of a new biomedical engineering/optics building. The award will aid in the construction of a 91,000-sq-ft building connected directly to the university's Institute of Optics. . . . The Advanced Optical Systems Division of Adaptive Optics Associates (Cambridge, MA), a subsidiary of Metrologic Instruments (Blackwood, NJ), received $2 million under a subcontract for a proprietary customer for work to be completed during 2004. Additional funding in excess of the $2 million may be awarded under this subcontract in the next several months.

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