OPTICS INDUSTRY REPORT

With the purchase of a substantial stake in Saito Optics of Akita, Japan, Edmund Industrial Optics (Barrington, NJ) is making significant new investments to expand its manufacturing and customer-support presence in Japan and the Asian markets.

Edmund Optics expands Asian presence

With the purchase of a substantial stake in Saito Optics of Akita, Japan, Edmund Industrial Optics (Barrington, NJ) is making significant new investments to expand its manufacturing and customer-support presence in Japan and the Asian markets. Edmund Optics and Saito have had a long history of collaboration, with Saito as a local manufacturer supplying Edmund with high-precision spherical optics. The two companies have also collaborated in jointly developed new manufacturing technologies. The Saito plant is currently being directed by Edmund management.

Imagine Optic opens U.S. office

Manufacturer of wavefront metrology and adaptive-optics technology, Imagine Optic (Orsay, France, and Boston, MA) opened a new office at the Cambridge Innovation Center in the heart of Boston’s optics cluster. In addition to this reinforced presence in the U.S., the company entered into two new distribution partnerships with BNT in California and ESDI in Arizona.

“Establishing a permanent presence in the United States is key to showing our commitment to offer the highest quality products, services, and support to our U.S. customers,” said Samuel Bucourt, CEO and cofounder of Imagine Optic. Since the opening of its new offices in Boston in 2006, the company’s U.S. sales figures have more than doubled.

AMO acquires Wavefront Sciences

Advanced Medical Optics (AMO; Santa Ana, CA), a global ophthalmic surgical and eye-care products company, acquired WaveFront Sciences (Albuquerque, NM), a provider of proprietary wavefront diagnostic systems for refractive surgery and medical research.

“This acquisition represents another step forward in AMO’s strategy to provide a full range of products and services that meets the needs of comprehensive refractive practices,” said Jim, Mazzo AMO chairman, president, and CEO. “With this transaction, we secure proprietary technologies and R&D expertise in wavefront sensing and laser optics, which we expect will allow us to further strengthen our Advanced CustomVue laser vision-correction technology and accelerate the introduction of next-generation diagnostics that build on our WaveScan Wavefront systems.”

In related news, AMO recently paid $808 million in cash to purchase IntraLase (Irvine, CA), the leading provider of ultrafast laser systems for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).

Epson selects SUSS mask aligner

Seiko Epson, a manufacturer of printing and imaging products, purchased an MA200Compact Mask Aligner from SUSS MicroTec (Munich, Germany), supplier of precision optical manufacturing and test systems, to support its production of wafer-level chip-scale packaging (W-CSP). After a careful evaluation of competitive systems, Epson decided on the aligner because it demonstrated excellent throughput and a submicron overlay and alignment accuracy.

Compared to steppers, where multiple shots can be necessary to expose a full wafer, the mask aligner is able to expose the wafer in one shot, which results in a significant throughput advantage.

Rensselaer licenses microscope technology

A microscope technology invented by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY) has been licensed by Thorlabs (Newton, NJ). The device, called the Adaptive Scanning Optical Microscope (ASOM), provides the ability to view large areas of a sample without sacrificing image resolution. It is especially well suited for automating difficult tasks in biological laboratories, from diagnosing cancer to discovering new drugs.

The ASOM technology was invented at the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) at Rensselaer. Thorlabs has donated equipment to CATS in the past and also actively supports the Smart Optics Laboratory.

Also in the news . . .

Meadowlark Optics (Frederick, CO) released Transitions, its 2007-08 “Polarization Handbook,” with detailed descriptions and specifications for its polarizers, retarders, attenuators, system-level polarimeters, and new tunable optical filters. . . . Industry analyst firm CIR (Glen Allen, VA) issued a new research note concluding that silicon photonics is a technically superior solution that will be a key enabler for next-generation optical components. . . . RSoft Design Group (Ossining, NY), a leader in photonics design automation, and Optical Research Associates (ORA; Pasadena, CA) developed a new interface to provide extended modeling capabilities for optical devices that span both macro and micro scales for hybrid applications that use Rsoft’s Component Design Suite and ORA’s CODE V software. . . . Optiwave Systems (Bellevue, WA) and ZEMAX (Ottawa, ON, Canada) are collaborating to create a new interface to streamline the exchange of data between optical-engineering simulation design tools provided by both companies.

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