Optics Industry Report

Oct. 1, 2000
Nikon creates new companies, makes organizational changes; Corning to boost calcium fluoride production; 3M buys OCLI antiglare filter business ...

Nikon creates new companies, makes organizational changes
Nikon Inc. (Melville, NY) announced the establishment of new companies and organizational changes to serve the US and Latin American markets. It will move specific product lines into each of the new corporate entities; each of the companies will report directly to Nikon in Tokyo, Japan. In addition to the existing Nikon Inc., two new companies will be formed. Nikon Instruments will be responsible for all products currently sold by Nikon's science and technologies group, including microscopes, industrial and microelectronics inspection and measuring systems, and surveying and ophthalmic instruments. Nikon Eyewear will be responsible for eyewear products. The existing semiconductor manufacturing equipment maker Nikon Precision will be run by Nikon Inc. There are no plans to change the number of Nikon's US employees.

Corning to boost calcium fluoride production
Corning Inc. (Corning, NY) will increase its production of calcium fluoride (CaF2) by expanding its facility in North Brookfield, MA. The additional capacity will be installed by the end of the year and in production by early 2001. The facility currently manufactures CaF2 optics and components used by excimer laser manufacturers. The expansion will focus on the production of lithography-grade CaF2 optics primarily designed for use in deep-ultraviolet applications. Lithography at the 157-nm wavelength of the fluorine excimer laser—increasingly seen as the next step in the making of leading edge integrated-circuit chips—requires CaF2 optics. Corning already has extensive experience in the area of lithography, as it has long supplied fused silica of extremely high purity and homogeneity for use in lithographic systems based on the 248- and193-nm wavelengths.

3M buys OCLI antiglare filter business
3M (St. Paul, MN) has bought the antiglare filter business of Optical Coating Laboratory Inc. (OCLI; Santa Rosa, CA), a purchase that includes all related patents and trademarks. The product line consists of optically coated tempered-glass filters for computer monitors. The acquisition of OCLI's business continues 3M's inclination to augment its own filter technology by buying outside businesses; earlier this year, the company purchased a brightness-enhancing filter business from Polaroid Corp. (Cambridge, MA) that included Polaroid's circular, h-type, and k-type sheet polarizers, technology that is being integrated into 3M's own desktop-monitor filters.

NSG opens plant, increases lens production
NSG America (Somerset, NJ) has opened a new plant in Yokkaichi, Japan, to increase production of its gradient-index rod lenses. In addition, the company has increased coating capacity at its existing plant in Sagamahara, Japan, and boosted angle-polishing capabilities at other plants in the Philippines and US. The goal of NSG America is to double production capacity of its lenses by the end of 2000. Arrays of gradient-index rod lenses become 1:1 magnification systems for use in copiers and elsewhere; individual rod lenses are used to couple light into and out of optical fibers and as collimating lenses for laser diodes. The latter two uses are driven by the telecommunications boom and, thus, are the major contributors to NSG America's decision to expand production.

Also in the news . . .
Edmund Industrial Optics (Barrington, NJ) is doubling the size of its Tucson, AZ, design center. . . Newport Corp. (Irvine, CA) acquired robotics specialist Unique Equipment Co. (Chandler, AZ). . . Precision Optics Corporation (Gardner, MA) leased 37,000 square feet of space for a new optical thin-films technology center. . . New Focus (San Jose, CA) filed for a public offering of 3.5 million shares. . . Blue Sky Research (San Jose, CA) opened a subsidiary in Singapore called Blue Sky Systems. . . Spectrogon AB (Täby, Sweden) will expand its manufacturing facility to fill demand for gratings, optics, and coatings. . . GSI Lumonics Inc. (Kanata, Ontario, Canada) is selling its Life Sciences confocal scanning systems business to Packard BioScience Company (Meriden, CT).

John Wallace

For more business news, subscribe to Optoelectronics Report.Contact Jayne Sears-Renfer at[email protected].

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