Laser by Paula M. Noaker
TRW finds a place in EUV lithography
The fast-developing technology of extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) lithography got a boost recently when TRW (Redondo Beach, CA) delivered its first laser to Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore, CA). The Nd:YAG laser, diode-pumped and with a pulsed output of 1.7 kW, is to become the central component of a light source that will produce 13.5-nm light as the laser beam interacts with a xenon jet to create a plasma. EUV is one of the two approaches to lithography recently selected by SEMATECH (Austin, TX) as primary pathways to fabricating semiconductor-chip design features of less than 0.1 µm; the other approach is Scalpel, a reduction e-beam lithography system developed at Lucent Technologies-Bell Labs (Murray Hill, NJ). TRW is working with the EUV LLC, a consortium of US semiconductor manufacturers led by Intel, Motorola, and Advanced Micro Devices, as well as with the Virtual National Laboratory (VNL)—made up of Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories—to develop the EUV light source. Upon installation of the laser at Sandia, TRW and the VNL will integrate the laser and associated optics with the xenon jet and optimize the performance of the light source, with results expected by late 1999.
General Scanning and Lumonics complete merger
General Scanning Inc. (Watertown, MA) and Lumonics Inc. (Kanata, Ontario, CA) have finally completed their merger. The new company, GSI Lumonics Inc., is open for business, and, as of March 24, the firm's common shares are listed on NASDAQ and the Toronto Stock Exchange under new symbols: GSLI and LSI, respectively. In line with the merger, GSI Lumonics is closing its Oxnard, CA, manufacturing facility and removing some sales offices outside of North America. As a result, the firm's Wilmington, MA, facility will begin manufacturing semiconductor-wafer-marking equipment formerly produced at Oxnard. Oxnard's other marking-product line will be consolidated with a similar line already manufactured at Wilmington. More information is available on the Web at www.gsilumonics.com.
CoreTek receives financing to make photonic tuners
CoreTek Inc. (Burlington, MA) has secured $6 million in venture funding to help it manufacture photonic tuners based on its patented MEM-Tune variable wavelength-filtering technology. The technology can cover the entire bandwidth of current C-band dense-wavelength-division-multiplexing (DWDM) systems (1535-1565 nm), as well as the anticipated L-band wavelengths (1570-1620 nm). It enables transmission of channels as close as 25 GHz, four times denser than commercial DWDM systems.
1998 shipments of industrial-laser systems fell 5%
At $573.7 million, last year's shipments of industrial-laser equipment and systems for North America and export were down 5% from the year before, according to AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology (McLean, VA). For the 43 companies participating in the association's annual survey, shipments tallied $430.2 million, and exports reached $143.5 million. Cutting applications accounted for 54% of all shipments. Almost 62% of the lasers in systems were CO2 devices. Nearly 85% of total shipments were configured as laser systems (laser source and workstation).
LaserSight receives equity financing
In March, LaserSight (Winter Park, FL) completed a $9 million equity private placement with certain existing and new investors to support the anticipated launch of several new products related to refractive surgery. In connection with this financing, the firm issued 2.25 million common shares and warrants to purchase 225,000 common shares at $5.125/share.
Also in the news . . .
Robert M. Gelber has retired from his positions as executive vice president of Coherent Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) and president of its Auburn Group. John Ambroseo, president of the firm's laser group will assume the presidency of the Auburn Group. . . . Lasertechnics Marking Corp. (Albuquerque, NM) has been acquired by investment capital firm Amphion Capital Management (New York, NY).
Optics by Neil Savage
BP Amoco becomes full owner of Solarex
BP Amoco (London, England), which already owns half of Solarex (Frederick, MD), has agreed to buy the other 50% from Enron (Houston, TX). BP Amoco will pay $45 million for the company, to be called BP Solarex. The company's headquarters will remain in Maryland, and it will be headed by Harry Shimp, who was recently appointed president and CEO. The chairman will be Steve Gates, executive vice president and chief of staff at BP Amoco. The company is projecting annual revenues of more than $150 million, a 20% share of the global market. It will have manufacturing operations in the USA, Spain, Australia, and India. BP Amoco CEO John Browne said the acquisition is a significant step toward BP's target of building a $1 billion solar-technology business over the next decade.
Companies agree on faster infrared standard
The Infrared Data Association (IrDA; Walnut Creek, CA), a coalition of more than 160 companies, has agreed on a standard for infrared data transmission that allows rates of up to 16 Mbit/s. The new specification is called Very Fast IR (VFIR) and provides for wireless connections in digital cameras, scanners, portable storage devices, LANs, notebook computers, desktop computers, and devices running Windows CE software. The standard is based on a joint proposal by Hewlett-Packard Co. (Palo Alto, CA), IBM Corp. (Armonk, NY), and Sharp Electronics Corp. (Mahweh, NJ). The IrDA said Microsoft (Seattle, WA) plans to support VFIR in its Windows 2000 operating system, along with an IrDA image-transfer protocol, IrTran-P.
Corning will provide lenses to nuclear project
Corning Corporation (Corning, NY) will supply high-purity fused-silicon (HPFS) lenses to the US Department of Energy National Ignition Facility (NIF) under a $16 million contract. Corning will supply approximately 2600 HPFS components, which it will manufacture in its Canton, NY, plant. Slated for completion by 2003, NIF, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA), uses 192 frequency-tripled Nd:YAG laser beams as the energy source for inertial-confinement fusion, in an attempt to monitor the US nuclear-weapons stockpile without underground testing. With its low coefficient of thermal expansion and high transparency at 355 nm, HPFS is well suited to survive the NIF laser pulses without damage.
Zygo to expand sales and support
Zygo Corp. (Middlefield, CT), a manufacturer of measurement systems and accessories, will turn its Sunnyvale, CA, location into a customer-service center as part of a $2.4 million plan to expand its sales and service facilities. The company said it was trying to take advantage of advancement in "noncontacting" measurement technology and build on its strong position in the semiconductor and data-storage industries. To that end, it is creating regional sales, service, and applications business centers in Sunnyvale, Middlefield, and Chicago, IL. The company's Syncotec subsidiary (Asslar, Germany) will be the service center for Europe, and Zygo Singapore Pte will be the center for the Pacific Rim.
Thin-film makers agree to merge
Commonwealth Scientific Corp. (CSC; Alexandria, VA) and CVC Inc. (Rochester, NY) have signed an agreement to merge. The companies project that together they will have annual sales in excess of $100 million. CSC makes ion-beam sources for the optical, data-storage, and semiconductor industries. Its deposition and etching technologies are used in optical coatings, thin-film magnetics, and micro electronics. CVC makes cluster tool-manufacturing equipment for the data-storage and semiconductor industries, including a tool for working with gallium arsenide substrates.
Also in the news . . .
CyberOptics Corp. (Minneapolis, MN) has acquired Kestra Ltd. (Skipton, England), a maker of optical inspection systems, for approximately $11.5 million. . . . The Optoelectronic Industry and Technology Development Association (Japan) says domestic production of photovoltaic cells in Japan for FY1997 recorded 42.5-MW peak power, an annual growth rate of 72%.
Imaging by John Wallace
EG&G buys Perkin-Elmer Analytical Instruments
For $465 million, EG&G Inc. (Wellesley, MA) has purchased from Perkin-Elmer Corp. (PE; Norwalk, CT) its Analytical Instrument Division. EG&G will pay $275 million in cash and $150 million in debt to close the deal and will also assume most assets and liabilities of the Analytical Instrument Division. Perkin-Elmer plans to change its name to PE Corp. and transfer rights to the "Perkin-Elmer" brand name to EG&G. PE Corp. will retain PE Nelson, an information management unit of the division.
dpiX facing a shutdown
Unless it can be sold, Xerox spin-off dpiX (Palo Alto, CA) will be closed down by the end of the year. Employees and customers of the high-resolution flat-panel-display maker are hoping that a consortium of the company's display and medical imaging customers will make an offer. The consortium includes Planar Systems Inc. (Beaverton, OR); other members have not been identified. Without a buyout offer, dpiX will face a two-tiered phase-out of its 144 employees that will enable it to complete contracts, said Xerox spokesman Judd Everhart. Xerox is believed to have invested approximately $100 million in dpiX, with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency kicking in an additional $50 million–$70 million.
MIT rolls out space-based imager
A new 510-lb satellite instrument built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA) has successfully completed a vacuum-tank calibration and is on track for an October launch. The Multispectral Thermal Imager (MTI) will provide information across three visible and 12 infrared spectral bands from a 340-mile-high polar orbit. With a 36-cm optical aperture, the MTI will carry a bank of three sensor-chip assemblies, each containing 15 detector arrays. Its task will be the measurement of the Earth's surface temperatures, water quality, and health of vegetation; the 15 spectral bands will help distinguish subtle differences in the Earth's features, as well as effects of the intervening atmosphere. Up to six stereo images a day will be downloaded from the instrument.
Philips Components forms unit
A business unit created by Philips General Systems Components (Slatersville, RI) will pursue the design, development, and manufacture of charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera modules for OEM applications. The image-optics modules unit will target medical, scientific, photographic, machine-vision, and industrial applications. The company recently completed a 12,000-sq ft clean-room facility intended for digital CCD imaging. Philips Components is a division of electronics company Royal Philips Electronics (Eindhoven, Netherlands).
FLIR Systems completes acquisition
In a transaction accounted for as a pooling of interests, FLIR Systems Inc. (Portland, OR) has completed the acquisition of Inframetrics Inc. (North Billerica, MA). Both are makers of thermal imaging products, with a combined 1998 net income of $209.5 million. The shareholders of Inframetrics were issued 2.3 million shares of FLIR common stock in exchange for all of Inframetrics' outstanding stock. Transaction-related expenses and the write-off of some duplicated inventory totaling approximately $23 million will be accounted for in the March quarter.
Also in the news . . .
A $2 million grant from the United States Display Consortium (San Jose, CA) to Illumitech (Chicago, IL) and Welch Allyn (Skaneateles, NY) will help fund development of optics for projection-display systems. . . . Cambridge Research & Instrumentation (Boston, MA) has elected a new board of directors that includes chairman Paul Forman, former chief executive officer of Zygo Corp. (Middlefield, CT). . . . Space Imaging (Denver, CO) announced an agreement with Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) giving NASDA access to data from the three Indian Remote Sensing satellites.
Fiberoptics by W. Conard Holton
SDL to acquire England's IOC
In a bid to expand its role in the telecommunications market, component-maker SDL (San Jose, CA) has offered to buy IOC International plc (Witham, England), which makes 2.5- and 10-Gbit/s lithium niobate components. The offer, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, is based on an estimated value for IOC of approximately $50 million. Under the agreement, SDL will exchange 1.815 shares of SDL stock for every 100 shares of IOC stock. That agreement does not take account of SDL's plan to declare a two-for-one stock split. IOC managing director Mike Powell will continue in that position, and the rest of the IOC management team will stay in place.
Ciena pays $980 million to launch LightWorks Initiative
Lightera Networks Inc. (Cupertino, CA) and Omina Communications Inc. (Marlborough, MA) have been acquired by Ciena Corp. (Linthicum, MD) in two transactions with a total value of about $980 million. A new organization, the Ciena LightWorks Initiative will combine the Ciena optical networking system with an intelligent optical core switch from Lightera and allow carriers to build mesh, ring, or hybrid mesh-ring optical cores without legacy SONET equipment. The initiative will also include a multiservice transport platform from Omina that will enable providers to deliver both legacy services and high-speed data services over an integrated optical infrastructure.
Electrophotonics partners with Fermionics
Electrophotonics Corp., a manufacturer of telecommunications and sensing equipment, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 25% of optoelectronics-device manufacturer Fermionics Lasertech Inc. (Newbury Park, CA). ElectroPhotonics will distribute Fermionics Lasertech's products and play an active role in the operations of the company. Fermionics Lasertech has a customer base including domestic and international business and research institutions, and its products can be found in a variety of telecommunications and biomedical devices. The company manufactures active optoelectronic products for fiberoptic applications that complement Electrophotonic's suite of passive products.
Kymata and Lynx developing all-optical switch arrays
With a desire to create planar switch-array devices for dense-wavelength-division multiplexing, Kymata Ltd. (Livingston, Scotland) and Lynx Photonic Networks Ltd. (Encino, CA) have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on design, manufacture, and marketing. A family of devices based on the companies' respective switch-array circuit and topology ideas and design and fabrication expertise is expected to result. Within six months a 16 x 16 prototype nonblocking switch-array product will be available. Kymata is backed by British Telecommunications and venture capital, while Lynx is backed by two Israei venture-capital firms and US entrepreneurs.
ITF Optical Technologies brings multiplexing skills to Newbridge
Newbridge Networks (Kanata, Ontario, Canada) has acquired a 10% equity position in ITF Optical Technologies (Ville St.-Laurent, Quebec, Canada). Newbridge said ITF's expertise in passive optical components for fiberoptic telecommunications, such as dense wavelength-division multiplexers, will help it lower costs and increase bandwidth for Newbridge customers. ITF manufactures narrow-channel multiplexers and demultiplexers, while Newbridge provides network solutions and attempts to leverage its relationship with a family of affiliate companies.
Also in the news . . .
Lighting-products manufacturer SLI Inc. (Canton, MA) reports that its joint venture with Schott Corp. (Duryea, PA)—Schott-CML Fiberoptics LLC—has signed a letter of intent to acquire the business and assets of Fostec Inc. (Auburn, NY), a speciality fiberoptics manufacturer. . . . FiberCore Inc. (Charlton, MA), a maker of optical fiber and preforms, announced the completion of its Jena, Germany, plant expansion, which more than doubles both preform- and fiber-manufacturing capacity. . . . Telcordia Technologies is the new name for Bell Communications Research (Morristown, NJ), a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corp. (San Diego, CA).