Nov. 1, 2006
Valued in excess of $7.4 million over the next three years, a technology licensing deal with British Petroleum (BP) has been secured by Cascade Technologies (Stirling, Scotland).

Cascade secures pollution-monitoring deal

Valued in excess of $7.4 million over the next three years, a technology licensing deal with British Petroleum (BP) has been secured by Cascade Technologies (Stirling, Scotland). BP Marine, a subsidiary of the energy giant, has invested in Cascade for access to its quantum-cascade laser system for measuring greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. The deal with BP was struck in response to the introduction of sulfur-emission control areas (SECAs), which set limits on sulfur dioxide emissions from ship exhausts. Furthermore, recent maritime legislation limits the emissions of oxides of nitrogen from ship engines, as well as deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances.

Millennium Prize honors LED inventor

The 2006 Millennium Technology Prize of €1 million and “Peak,” the trophy, were presented to Shuji Nakamura for his invention of new sources of light in a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland. “This is not just a source of light that makes enormous energy savings possible, it is also an innovation that can be used in the sterilization of drinking water and for storing data in much more efficient ways,” Nakamura said. Nakamura will be donating part of the prize money to organizations that promote the use of LED lighting in third-world locations.

Candela pleased with its performance

It has been a profitable 12 months for Candela (Wayland, MA). The medical-laser company has watched its revenues grow 21% and its profits grow 104% in the latest fiscal year (ended July 1), despite a “disastrous” fourth quarter. Its stock price more than doubled in the first five months of 2006, reaching nearly $25 per share in May, only to fall back to $9 per share in September--about where it was in September 2005. Through it all, president and CEO Jerry Puorro remains bullish on the company and its position in the aesthetic-laser market. “We are a $150 million company with somewhere between 25% and 27% market share in the aesthetic market, and we are still seeing growth this year,” Puorro said.

Collaboration focuses on LED lighting

Osram Opto Semiconductors (San Jose, CA), a manufacturer of light-emitting-diode (LED) technology, and the Lighting Science Group (LSG; Dallas, TX), a designer and marketer of super-energy-efficient LED lighting solutions, announced that the Osram OSTAR Lighting product will be used on LSG’s new LED-based MR-16 lamp and an R-30 lamp for use in the multibillion-dollar industrial, commercial, and consumer industries. These new energy-efficient lamps offer a direct alternative to the metalized reflector halogen lamps currently used in the marketplace.

The collaboration is a response to escalating concerns over rising energy costs and environmental quality. LED light sources require 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and do not contain mercury, which is found in compact fluorescent bulbs.

Laser specialist Oxxius secures $10 million

Ultracompact laser manufacturer Oxxius (Lannion, France) has raised $10 million in a second round of equity financing. Last year, Oxxius introduced its compact, solid-state, visible and near-ultraviolet SLIM lasers. “This additional funding will enable us to grow the commercial and industrial operations of the company and consolidate our position of first-tier laser provider to instrumentation manufacturers,” said Thierry Georges, cofounder and CEO of Oxxius. “Few investment opportunities in European startups have excited us as much in recent years,” said Alain Azan of Sofinnova Ventures.

Also in the news . . .

Microsoft has chosen U-L-M Photonics (Ulm, Germany) as the preferred laser technology supplier for the Microsoft Wireless and Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse 6000. . . . Cambridge Display Technology (CDT; Cambridge, England), developer of polymer organic light-emitting-diode (P-OLED) technology, has begun collaborative work on a metal deposition project using lasers that is expected to be important in the field of flexible displays. . . . EMCO High Voltage (Sutter Creek, CA), manufacturer of high-voltage power supplies for lasers and semiconductor manufacturing equipment, received a “Key Partner Award” from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for its role in powering the 5000 digital optical modules that will be used in research on heavy neutrinos for Project ICECUBE. . . . ACOL’s (Geneva, Switzerland) high-brightness LEDs will be distributed through Vgoal (Taipei, Taiwan) in major Asian markets. . . . A new technical market research report (SMC018B) from BCC Research (Wellesley, MA) says the total market for high-brightness LEDs will increase to $10.6 billion by 2011. . . . The Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has purchased Powerlase (Crawley, England) Starlase lasers to advance the development of applications in laser-produced plasma.

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