OPTICS INDUSTRY REPORT

Optical components, subsystems, and photonics systems provider OFR (Caldwell, NJ) has been acquired by Thorlabs (Newton, NJ).

Thorlabs acquires OFR

Optical components, subsystems, and photonics systems provider OFR (Caldwell, NJ) has been acquired by Thorlabs (Newton, NJ). OFR’s products have been adopted by a number of key market segments identified as critical to Thorlabs’ future, including the core research markets, as well as the rapidly growing high-power fiber laser and advanced imaging markets.

“The union of OFR and Thorlabs makes good sense,” said Donald Wilson, president and founder of OFR. “Both companies manufacture and supply highest quality products into the world’s photonics markets, from the laboratory to product development to OEM supply.”

“I am thrilled to welcome OFR into the Thorlabs family of companies, which now includes seven entities, all with substantial manufacturing and design capabilities,” said Alex Cable, Thorlabs president and founder.

OFR will continue operations at its Caldwell, NJ, site, providing another significant addition to the Thorlabs design and manufacturing base that now includes more than 120,000 sq ft of manufacturing space.

EPIC marks third anniversary

The European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) has celebrated its third anniversary. EPIC was founded on Dec. 12, 2003, by five major players in European photonics: Aixtron, Cambridge Display Technology, Osram Opto-Semiconductors, Philips Lighting, and Sagem Défense Securité. EPIC has been instrumental in the creation of Photonics21 (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/245125), the European Photonics Technology Platform that was launched in December 2005.

DARPA funds Harvard NEMS/MEMS research

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has funded a new multi-institution research initiative in nano- and microelectromechanical systems (NEMS/MEMS) in affiliation with Harvard University’s (Cambridge, MA) programs in engineering and applied sciences. The three-year program has more than $2 million in total funding from DARPA and industry partners.

Led by Ken Crozier, assistant professor of electrical engineering, the Harvard Center for Microfluidic and Plasmonic Systems (MIPS) will carry out fundamental research into surface plasmon (SP) nanostructure design, fabrication, and integration with microfluidic systems. The center will also bring together experts from a variety of areas, including microfluidics and nanofabrication, biosensors, plasmon devices, optoelectronics, bottom-up nanofabrication, and plasmonic fluorescent sensors. Additional projects include optical microscopes with improved spatial resolution, and optical-fiber probes incorporating metallic nanostructures.

Resolve Optics sees revenue increase

Specializing in high-performance lens systems, Resolve Optics (Chesham, England) announced a 15% increase in sales for the 12 months to December 2006 compared to the same period the year before.

During 2006 the company introduced a new specialty lens designed to provide improved performance with large-image-format remote-head cameras (an optical system capable of monitoring processes up to 950°C without cooling), as well as several new additions to its range of radiation-resistant lenses. “As the requirements of lenses and lens systems have increased, so have the proportion of applications that cannot be adequately solved by “off-the-shelf” solutions,” said Mark Pontin, sales director.

NSF awards $2 million to Keck observatory

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the W. M. Keck Observatory (Kamuela, HI) $2 million to improve the sensitivity and resolution of the Keck Interferometer. The improvements will enable the instrument to detect Jupiter-size planets around other stars and test predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity in the chaotic core of our galaxy. A key goal of the project is to demonstrate the power of combining laser-guide-star adaptive optics with interferometry to observe faint objects. With the mprovements, the Keck Interferometer will resolve objects to an accuracy of 30 microarcseconds, compared to about 300 microarcsecond resolution of each telescope alone.

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Also in the news . . .

ASML (Veldhoven, The Netherlands) has signed an agreement to acquire privately held Brion (Santa Clara, CA), a provider of semiconductor design and wafer manufacturing optimization solutions for advanced lithography. . . . Dynasil (West Berlin, NJ), a fabricator of optical blanks from synthetic fused silica, fused quartz, and other optical materials for the semiconductor, laser, space and optical components industries, announced revenues for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2006, of close to $1.9 million, an increase of 19% over the same quarter last year. . . . The Melles Griot Optics Group (Rochester, NY) released additional Fizeau interferometer test optics that allow the user to record and store reference wavefronts for subtraction from interferometric test data, substantially improving their interferometer system’s absolute accuracy.

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