OPTICS INDUSTRY REPORT

May 1, 2007
McPherson (Chelmsford, MA) instruments helped calibrate space flight systems for the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS).

Hubble gets help from McPherson

McPherson (Chelmsford, MA) instruments helped calibrate space flight systems for the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS). Now, McPhersoninstruments will work on the new ultraviolet eye for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST): the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph (COS), which is undergoing preflight characterization in preparation for a ride on the space shuttle during service mission 4 to the orbiting HST. The COS optics and subsystems are being tested on the ground, at deep-ultraviolet wavelengths normally only accessible in the vacuum of space.

The University of Colorado Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy (CASA) contracted McPherson, a manufacturer of vacuum-compatible spectroscopy instrumentation, to provide spectral test and calibration for the COS optical train.

Nanoident to ‘print’ optoelectronics

Based on its Semiconductor 2.0 technology platform, Nanoident Technologies (Linz, Austria) has opened a high-volume manufacturing facility to produce printed semiconductor-based optoelectronics for the Nanoident Group of companies, which includes Nanoident Technologies and Bioident Technologies (Menlo Park, CA). Dubbed an organic fab (OFAB), the environmentally friendly production process can produce printed optoelectronic devices quickly and at a fraction of the cost of a traditional silicon-based semiconductor fab, according to a company statement.

To produce printed electronics in the 100-class cleanroom at the OFAB, nanomaterials are deposited extremely fast onto a substrate using advanced printing methods. Traditional chip manufacturing takes approximately two to three months. In the OFAB, the entire process can be completed in hours or days, depending on the application.

Business incubator wins grant award

The Infotonics Center (Canandaigua, NY) was awarded a $3 million grant from the Economic Development Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce. The funds will help the center incubate businesses in the fields of photonics, information systems, and optics, and create approximately 200 jobs in the greater Rochester region.

The Infotonics Center was formed in 2001 by Eastman Kodak, Corning, and Xerox as a nonprofit corporation to operate New York State’s Center of Excellence in Photonics and Microsystems. The center, which in 2002 moved to a 123,000 sq ft former Xerox facility in Canandaigua, provides research and development on photonics, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and micro-optoelectromechanical systems (MOEMS) for applications including chemical, biological and physical sensors, planar and free-space optics, and microfluidics.

In related news, The Infotonics Center has selected wafer and device bonding tools from SUSS MicroTec (Munich, Germany) for its MEMS and MOEMS packaging lab.

Agilent creates new optical business unit

Within its Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis business (LSCA), Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, CA) created a new Materials Sciences Solutions Unit (MSSU) that will focus on developing a microscopy and optical spectroscopy business for the electronics, materials testing, life sciences, and chemical analysis markets.

Agilent’s Nanotechnology Measurement Division will be transferred to the new unit and the company’s new nanotechnology products, including atomic-force microscopy, will be part of the MSSU as well. “Because of our expertise in both the electronics and bioanalytical markets, we are in a unique position to leverage these capabilities to address emerging customer needs in this new market space,” said Chris van Ingen, president of LSCA and Agilent senior vice president.

Also in the news . . .

Aspectrics (Pleasanton, CA) established a new Professional Services Division to demonstrate its commitment to its growing clientele for its infrared spectroscopy analyzers. . . . The Taiwan Optoelectronics and Semiconductor Industries Association (TOSIA) has been established in Taipei, with members vowing “to build Taiwan into a leading center in the optoelectronics and semiconductor industries in the world.”. . . Bristol Instruments (Victor, NY) has moved to a larger facility to expand production and laboratory space for its optical interferometry products. . . . Telepro will distribute the beam-profiling instrumentation of Photon (San Jose, CA) in Quebec, the Maritimes, and Ontario, Canada. . . . Structured Materials Industries (Piscataway, NJ) received a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer award from the National Science Foundation to develop lithium niobate thin films by metal-organic chemical-vapor deposition. . . . Crystal manufacturer Cristal Laser (Messein, France) entered an exclusive North American distribution agreement with Leading Edge Optical (LEO; Billings, MT).

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