Optics Industry Report

Aug. 1, 2004
e2v Technologies to supply CCDs for China telescope; Olympus targets China with Beijing subsidiary; SBIR grant funds development of IR nanoceramics ; MORE...

e2v Technologies to supply CCDs for China telescope

e2v Technologies (Chelmsford, England) has been awarded a contract to supply 36 image sensors to the Chinese LAMOST (Large sky-Area Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope) project. The contract calls for e2v to supply 36 of the 4k × 4k CCDs to LAMOST's fiber-fed spectrograph.

The ground-based LAMOST initiative is a major undertaking for astronomers in China aiming to observe objects in the sky across a very wide area. The telescope is expected to take tens of thousands of objects' spectra each night using a 5° field of view, which could make it the world's most powerful survey tool of its kind.

The imaging devices for LAMOST build upon e2v's CCD42 and CCD44 ranges of astronomy chips. Similar e2v projects include supply of 40 CCDs to the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, ongoing supply to the Kepler planet-finding mission, and selection for GAIA, one of the largest focal planes of CCDs ever built.

Olympus targets China with Beijing subsidiary

Olympus (Tokyo, Japan) anticipates further expansion of the Chinese market, and has moved to expand its sales of endoscopes and biological microscopes in China by absorbing its local sales agency in China and establishing Olympus Beijing Sales & Service Co. in Beijing. The new company, which has 400 employees and 24 offices, commenced operations on July 1.

Olympus has established production, marketing, and sales subsidiaries for its consumer products, including digital cameras, in China and says it is achieving substantial sales growth through full-scale direct selling in China. The potential for sales growth is not limited to consumer products; Olympus also anticipates major expansion in the demand for endoscopes and biological microscopes. Olympus first moved into the Chinese market for endoscopes and biological microscopes 40 years ago.

SBIR grant funds development of IR nanoceramics

MetaMateria Partners (MMP; Columbus, OH), a subsidiary of nanomaterials-developer NanoDynamics (Buffalo, NY), received a $750,000 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II award from the U.S. Navy to make nanosized ceramic particles to be used in producing transparent windows for military applications. The objective of the program is to develop an optical material acceptable for use in next-generation IR sensors on missiles and aircrafts.

MetaMateria says it will synthesize nanoparticles of yttria, create stable dispersions of the nanosized ceramic in liquid, then produce preforms that can be sintered at high temperatures to create a dense, transparent window material. According to the company, yttrium oxide represents a potential candidate material for IR windows because of its high IR transparency, with specific application as domes for high-speed IR guided missiles operating in 3- to 5-µm mid-wavelength IR band.

Synthetic diamond material enhances optical devices

Element Six (Cuijk, The Netherlands) has developed a new synthetic single-crystal diamond material made using chemical-vapor deposition. According to the company, IIIa Optical has a unique combination of properties that makes it an excellent material for a range of technologically advanced optical applications. Uniform physical properties in the visible spectrum, the high refractive index of 2.39 at 1064 nm, and transparency of the material—together with its very high thermal conductivity and high strength—allow the manufacture of advanced diamond windows, prisms, and lenses with low scatter in the visible and up to 235 nm in the UV. Element Six is a supplier of industrial diamond and the complementary cubic boron nitride abrasive materials.

Also in the news . . .

Alpine Research Optics (ARO, Boulder, CO) received an order valued at more than $1 million to supply laser optics to the National Ignition Facility (NIF) operated by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA). The contract, which runs through 2007, comprises a variety of components lenses, mirrors, and partial reflectors for NIF's Injection Laser System. . . . Proteus Optics (Philadelphia, PA) received a $100,000 Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I award to develop a laser pulse–shaping system. Proteus Optics manufacturers optical instrumentation for the scientific and defense markets, and was formed to commercialize technology developed in the Center for Advanced Photonics Research at Temple University.

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