Optics Industry Report

Optical Security to join with Applied Holographics; License gives Nanometrics new optical testing products; and more.

Optical Security to join with Applied Holographics

Optical Security Group (OpSec; Denver, CO), a maker of optical coatings for security, will merge with Applied Holographics plc (Washington, Tyne and Wear, England). Applied Holographics agreed to offer $7 per share for all shares of OpSec stock. Mark T. Turnage, president and COO of OpSec, will become a director of Applied. Richard H. Bard will resign as chairman and CEO of OpSec and become an adviser to Applied's board of directors. Bard said the merger will position the new, larger company to compete in the growing global industry of authentication security. OpSec optical coatings and imaging technology are used in tamper-evident packaging labels, in threads and tags for protecting product brands, and for authentication of machine parts and pharmaceuticals.

License gives Nanometrics new optical testing products

Nanometrics (Sunnyvale, CA) has acquired an exclusive license to optical tester technologies from Phase Metrics (San Diego, CA). The license includes intellectual property and technical information for testing in the semiconductor and flat-panel-display industries. The agreement includes a one-time payment, purchase of inventory, and royalty payments based on the number of sales. Nanometrics said these optical technologies should speed up the company's development and manufacture of new metrology systems, for both stand-alone devices and equipment to be integrated into wafer-processing systems, such as chemical mechanical planarization and chemical-vapor-deposition systems.

Edmund Scientific focuses on industrial optics

Once almost wholly devoted to consumer optics, Edmund Scientific (Barrington, NJ) has shifted its focus over the past decade to the point where 80% of its business is in industrial optics for OEMs. The move began in the mid-1980s, when market analysis showed that consumer demand had peaked, which was when the company hired its first optical engineer, John Stack, who was recently named president of Edmund Industrial Optics. The 190-employee company now has 20 optical engineers. "We intend to be the top optics-component supplier in North America," Stack said. The company recently opened an engineering office in Tucson, AZ, focused on systems integration design. A manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China, makes multielement lenses to supplement the main optics manufacturing site in Barrington.

Ocean Optics buys components maker

Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) has bought Continental Optical Corp. (Hauppage, NY), a maker of precision optical components and coatings for military and commercial markets. Continental Optical president Mark Grindel will be general manager of the new Ocean Optics division, which will keep its Continental name. Ocean Optics president Michael Morris said this acquisition, along with the recent creation of dichroic-filter maker Ocean Thin Films, helps position the company to become a prime supplier of optics and electro-optics for OEMs and product developers.

New scholarship aimed at optical engineering students

The University of Arizona Optical Sciences Center (Tucson, AZ) has established a scholarship in optical sciences as part of its effort to encourage more students to study optics. The scholarship, aimed at juniors and seniors, is named for professor emeritus Jack D. Gaskill, a faculty member for 31 years and associate director for academic affairs for more than 20 years. Gaskill contributed a leadership gift to the scholarship fund, which university officials hope will reach $150,000 and provide a grant of $8000 per year, enough to cover tuition, books, and some living expenses. The university plans to begin offering a bachelor's degree in optical engineering and hopes to attract more students to the field.

Also in the news . . .

Optical Gaging Products (Rochester, NY) has bought the assets and licensed the software of a portable optical inspection system from CyberOptics Corp. (Minneapolis, MN), which is exiting the general metrology market. . . . APA Optics (Minneapolis, MN) reported a net loss of $955,262, or $0.11 per share, on revenues of $36,029 for its second quarter, ended September 30.

Neil Savage

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