Optics Industry Report

Sept. 1, 2003
Terabeam secures free-space optics contract in China; RPC Photonics returns to Rochester; Equinox black coating ready for space applications; MORE...

Terabeam secures free-space optics contract in China

Free-space optics provider Terabeam (Redmond, WA) has signed a contract with Great Wall Broadband Network Service (Shanghai, China), the leading broadband Internet service provider in China, to extend Great Wall's broadband network in 15 cities throughout China with wireless systems from Terabeam. Great Wall plans to accelerate the construction of its network for broadband Internet services with approximately 250 Terabeam links in the next two years. Terms were not disclosed. The first several Terabeam links for Great Wall are in Shanghai and the Chongqing metropolitan area. Great Wall will use Terabeam's initial wireless links to extend its metropolitan area network across the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers.

RPC Photonics returns to Rochester

RPC Photonics (Rochester, NY), a spinoff of Corning Rochester Photonics, returned to independent operation in May 2003. The company develops optical components for a variety of applications using precision structured surfaces fabricated in polymers, semiconductors or glass with patented laser-writing technology. Materials such as fused silica, silicon, or calcium fluoride are processed with reactive-ion etching or ion milling. Precise micro-optical structures can be used to extract light and distribute it as desired in an optically efficient way, for illumination and display systems and other light-control applications (laser and broadband illumination, beam shaping, solid-state lighting, optics for medical devices, instruments, and laser micromachining).

Equinox black coating ready for space applications

The optical black-coating product line Deep Sky Black from Equinox Interscience (Golden, CO) has undergone extensive testing and is now space qualified, according to the company. Deep Sky Black (DSB) is a low-reflectivity/high -missivity surface treatment for stray light control in optical instrumentation and blackbody radiator applications. A typical application for DSB is for blackening the internal metal surfaces of telescopes and optical instruments to absorb stray light and prevent unwanted reflections from interfering with the image. According to the company, the DSB product underwent rigorous testing at Sandia National Laboratory at the NASA/White Sands Test Facility to determine its suitability for use in space.

Optimax optics play key role in Mars Rover

Continued investment in computer-controlled machining equipment and engineering research for manufacturing process improvements is securing Optimax Systems' (Ontario, NY) position as an important supplier for many NASA programs, including the Mars Rover. Optimax manufactured most of the lenses for the 10 cameras built into each Mars Rover. The optics in these cameras will be used for position sensing, near and far field vision for maneuvering the Rovers. NASA has embarked on a program to expand the search for water on the planet Mars and provide scientists with information on the environmental conditions that may have once fostered life on the planet.

Data Optics partners on spectrometry software

Measurement Microsystems (MM; Montreal, Quebec) and Data Optics (Ypsilanti, MI) have formed a partnership to distribute MM's software package, MM Spectra. The software is designed to enhance the spectral resolution of existing or new spectrometers by a factor of up to 10 in real time and allows real-time, in situ recalibration of spectrometers.

Also in the news . . .

The board of directors of Corning (Corning, NY) has approved the first of three phases in its $180 million plan to expand its LCD glass manufacturing facility in Taiwan. The company expects the expansion to be completed by the end of 2004, with initial production starting in quarter two of 2004. The investment will more than double the plant's capacity for melting, forming, and finishing generation-five glass substrate. . . . Thales (Orsay, France) has officially opened the 700 m2 extension of its optics manufacturing facility in Kecskemet, Hungary. Established in 1997, the original 500-m2 facility was built to make glass lenses for medical endoscopes. . . . Actuality Systems (Burlington, MA) has been granted key patents on its spatial 3-D technology in both the United States and Taiwan. The patents broadly describe a volumetric 3-D display system and specifically cover unique optics for Actuality's Perspecta display. The patents teach the use of a novel rotating projection lens that ensures high-fidelity spatial 3-D imagery that can be used for a variety of scientific applications.

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