Optics Industry Report

Thirty-meter telescope gets $17.5 million grant; Fresnel wins patent lawsuit over lens design; MEMS firm to buy integrated optics company; MORE...

Thirty-meter telescope gets $17.5 million grant

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (San Francisco, CA) awarded $17.5 million to fund a detailed design study of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) project. This new grant allows the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA) and its partner, the University of California, to proceed with formulating detailed construction plans for the telescope. A 2002 study resulted in a roughed-out concept for a 30-m-diameter optical and infrared telescope, complete with adaptive optics, which would result in images more than 12 times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Fresnel wins patent lawsuit over lens design

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, has ruled that security system component supplier Rokonet Industries USA infringed Fresnel Technologies' (Fort Worth, TX) U.S. patent RE 35,534. Rokonet was also found to have willfully infringed the patent, leading to enhanced damages, and Fresnel Technologies was awarded attorney fees and costs. The Court issued an injunction prohibiting further infringement of Fresnel Technologies's patent, which covers a type of Fresnel lens construction; Fresnel lenses have found broad applicability in passive infrared motion sensors.

MEMS firm to buy integrated optics company

MEMSCAP (San Jose, CA) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Opsitech (Grenoble, France). A spin-off from the French Laboratoire d'Electronique et des Technologies de l'Information (LETI) of the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA), Opsitech specializes in integrated optics that can be associated with MEMS.

According to MEMSCAP, the deal strengthens its optical expertise, complements its recent acquisition of GalayOr, and expands MEMSCAP's optical business activity and patent portfolio. Specifically, MEMSCAP gains access to the CEA-LETI intellectual property in silicon integrated optics technologies and team expertise through a license and research and development agreement that is part of this transaction.

Schott gains access to EUV lithography patents

Schott Lithotec USA (Poughkeepsie, NY) signed a license agreement with the EUV LLC consortium (Santa Clara, CA) that gives Schott access to patents in the area of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and the right to use the research results of the consortium. Schott will provide EUV mask blanks to EUV LLC members, and the parties will co-develop commercially viable EUV photomask blanks by 2006.

Schott Lithotec (Jena, Germany) signed a similar access agreement with International SEMATECH's (ISMT's) extreme ultraviolet (EUV) research program in Albany, NY, that allows Schott Lithotec to send researchers to ISMT's EUV Mask Blank Development Center at the International SEMATECH-North (ISMT-N) facility at the University at Albany-SUNY. SCHOTT Lithotec will work with ISMT engineers in such areas as film deposition, cleaning and metrology for EUVL mask blanks.

Lilly selects Cyntellect high-throughput system

Eli Lilly and Company (Indianapolis, IN) has selected the Laser Enabled Analysis and Processing (LEAP) system from Cyntellect (San Diego, CA) to implement high-throughput RNA interference (RNAi) studies for evaluation of target gene function. According to Cyntellect, the LEAP platform delivers high-speed laser-mediated transfection and cell purification, resulting in an effective 100% rate of transfection efficiency by achieving RNAi in thousands of targeted cells per second followed immediately by subsequent laser elimination of cells in which transfection did not occur. The LEAP technology uses custom F-Theta optics that provides a large field-of-view, plus high-speed galvanometer mirrors to image and to steer a laser beam to targeted cells.

Also in the news . . .

SphereOptics-Hoffman (Contoocook, NH) has appointed ROSH Electroptics (Netanya, Israel) as its exclusive distributor in Israel. The company will market and sell the complete line of SphereOptics products, including integrating spheres, light measurement systems, and luminance/radiance standards and reflectance standards. . . . Laser Optical Engineering (LOE) has moved into purpose-built facilities at Loughborough University's Innovation Centre (Loughborough, England). LOE, a spin-out from the university, develops laser metrology and beam-shaping equipment and offers laser-safety consulting services. . . . Moritex Europe (Cambridge, England) has introduced macro CCD lenses for area inspection and alignment-measurement applications including 300-mm wafers, color filters, and liquid-crystal glass. The company says the new lenses provide better line sensing performance for 1-in. megapixel-area CCD and larger-area CCD elements up to 57.3-mm diameter.

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