Laser Focus World Weekly Newscast: December 3, 2012

Dec. 3, 2012
For this edition, we will talk about tunable material that boasts nearly 100% infrared absorption on demand, as well as some business acquisitions that made headlines last week.

For this edition, we will talk about tunable material that boasts nearly 100% infrared absorption on demand, as well as some business acquisitions that made headlines last week.

A new optical surface created by a group at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in collaboration with scientists at the University of California San Diego can absorb 99.75% of infrared light that strikes it. When thermally activated, it appears black to infrared cameras. Composed of a 180-nm-thick layer of vanadium dioxide on top of a sheet of sapphire, the device reacts to temperature changes by reflecting dramatically more or less infrared light. The result is a perfect absorber that is ultrathin, tunable, and exceptionally well-suited for use in a range of infrared optical devices, including bolometers with tunable absorption, spectroscopy devices, tunable filters, thermal emitters, radiation detectors, and equipment for energy harvesting. The group has filed patent applications on their invention and is actively pursuing licensing and commercialization opportunities. The work appears in Applied Physics Letters.

Last week, a handful of business acquisitions made news. First, Volcano Corporation, whose intravascular ultrasound products and optical coherence tomography systems and catheters help to diagnose and treat coronary and peripheral vascular disease, is set to acquire Israel-based Sync-Rx, which develops software applications that use automated online image processing to facilitate transcatheter cardiovascular interventions. The transaction reportedly will help to advance Volcano’s multi-modality platform, as Sync-Rx's technology will allow Volcano to better integrate and present a wide variety of data in an intuitive manner that creates more meaningful information for the physician and documentation for the hospital. Down the road, Volcano envisions the technology to be able to co-register intravascular ultrasound images directly onto the angiogram.

Also, Oclaro is selling the assets of its thin film filter business to II-VI Incorporated subsidiary Photop Technologies. Oclaro is also selling its interleaver product line to China-based Photop Koncent, another subsidiary of II-VI Incorporated. The acquisition is expected to help Photop expand its global footprint and diversification into the growing life sciences market, and the transactions, eventually totaling $27 million in cash, are expected to close December 3, 2012.

And finally, GE Aviation has acquired the assets of Morris Technologies and sister company Rapid Quality Manufacturing, both of whom specialize in laser additive manufacturing applications. The acquisition will help GE Aviation expand engineering and manufacturing capabilities to meet its growing jet engine output over the next five years. Morris Technologies, known as MTI, and Rapid Quality Manufacturing already produce components for GE Aviation’s new LEAP jet engine, a high-bypass turbofan engine that weighs significantly less than conventional engines, reducing fuel consumption and saving millions of dollars in annual fuel costs.

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