OPTICS INDUSTRY REPORT

Light Blue Optics (LBO; Cambridge, England), developer of holographic laser projection technology, closed a $26 million Series A funding round.

Dec 1st, 2007

Light Blue Optics receives $26 million

Light Blue Optics (LBO; Cambridge, England), developer of holographic laser projection technology, closed a $26 million Series A funding round. News of this funding round follows LBO’s release of engineering samples to key customers and strategic development partners from July 2007. The money will enable LBO to accelerate its product development and commercialization program for high-volume manufacture of miniature projection systems for a range of markets including automotive, digital signage, and consumer electronics. The company estimates that the total available market for miniature projection systems will exceed $5 billion by 2012.

Scientist honored for using adaptive optics

David R. Williams, William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics and director of the University of Rochester’s Center for Visual Science (Rochester, NY), won the 2007 Alfred W. Bressler Prize in Vision Science, awarded each year by the Jewish Guild for the Blind. He accepted the award and the $37,500 prize at a ceremony in New York City.

Williams and colleagues developed a camera that incorporates adaptive optics to see inside the human eye more clearly than ever before. The camera can take pictures of structures as small as single cells at the back of the living eye by using a deformable mirror. The technology provides a detailed description of the optical defects in an eye, making possible customized contact lenses and refractive surgery for each patient.

Schott optics help NASA explore asteroids

Cameras onboard the Dawn Space Probe include optics made from Schott (Mainz, Germany) synthetic quartz glass, boron crown glass, and heavy flint glass to prevent radiation darkening. The cameras, including one from the Max Planck Institute of Solar System Research located in Katlenburg-Lindau, Lower Saxony, Germany, will take approximately 50,000 photos of the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. “In space, normal optical glass would become as brown as a latté in a few days,” said Thorsten Döhring, who is in charge of optical applications in astronomy at Schott. The chemical element cerium is added to optical glasses for space travel applications to prevent cosmic radiation from penetrating into the glass and causing color centers and turbidity.

BRO innovates in optical-design education

Breault Reseach Organization (BRO; Tucson, AZ) has launched the BRO Multimedia Gallery (www.breault.com/movies) with more than 55 videos totaling more than six hours of rich-media content that helps users of optical-design software get to know the features related to their unique applications. Topics covered in the multimedia video gallery include display design, illumination engineering, imaging systems, geometrical and wave optics, stray-light analysis, and more. “The movie on using the BRO Light Source Wizard was very helpful,” said Bob Czajkowski, principal engineer at Federal Signal (Oak Brook, IL), a BRO client that designs and manufactures integrated security solutions for municipal, government, and industrial customers. “Seeing someone go through the process of creating a light source really helped me understand the steps needed.”

LightPath to expand molding technologies

LightPath Technologies (Orlando, FL) was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the Naval Air Warfare Center to develop molding technologies for infrared (IR) optical components that will provide lower costs for both government and commercial applications. The grant will expand LightPath’s existing molding technology and provide enhanced capabilities for larger-diameter lenses in the mid- and long-wavelength IR spectrum.

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Also in the news . . .

Naked Optics (Warren, NJ), a supplier of glass and IR materials, signed an exclusive distribution agreement with specialty glass manufacturer Hubei New Huaguang Information Materials (NHG; Xiangfan, China). . . . The Colorado Photonics Industry Assoc. (Denver, CO) has appointed its first executive director, Barbara Ihde; the association is celebrating its 10th anniversary . . . . Photonic Cleaning Technologies (Platteville, WI) announced distribution agreements with Lahat Technologies (Tel Aviv and Misgav, Israel) and Hikari (Tokyo, Japan); its product cleans to the nanoparticle level and is safe for use on coated optics, crystals, gratings, phase masks, and sensors. . . . Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ) expanded its relationship with Schneider Optics (Bad Kreuznach, Germany) by offering seven lines of Schneider’s imaging lenses in Edmunds’ catalog and Web site. . . . Photon Engineering (Tucson, AZ) released version 6.100 of FRED, a three-dimensional CAD optical engineering software program capable of simulating the propagation of light through complex optical/illumination systems. . . . Photon (San Jose, CA), manufacturer of beam-profiling instrumentation, entered into a distribution agreement in India with Infrared Optics.

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