Optics Industry Report

Feb. 1, 2003
Optical-component market to resume growth; Veeco and FEI call off merger; NeoPhotonics spins off medical business; MORE...

Optical-component market to resume growth

The optical-component market will finally see growth again in 2003, with a 30% year-over-year increase in dollar volume, according to a report by market researchers at Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA). The growth will come as inventories are finally depleted and as the market begins to see new system orders. The market will not return to the heyday of 2000 anytime soon, however—even with 30% growth, Strategies Unlimited projects component vendors' revenues in 2003 at $2.1 billion, far below the $9.1 billion peak of 2000.

Veeco and FEI call off merger

Because of the difficult overall market and economic conditions and the uncertain timing of a market recovery, Veeco Instruments (Woodbury, NY) and FEI (Hillsboro, OR) have terminated the merger agreement that they entered into last summer. Neither party will pay the other any termination fees or expenses. Veeco expects to meet or exceed the guidance for its fourth quarter provided last autumn. FEI also expects to meet or exceed the guidance for its fourth quarter provided last autumn.

NeoPhotonics spins off medical business

NeoPhotonics (Fremont, CA) is spinning off its medical component business into a separate corporation, according to Tim Jenks, the company's CEO. The new company, NanoGram Devices, has developed and is manufacturing and marketing specialized power sources for medical devices and other medical equipment based on its patented laser-based nanomaterial synthesis technology. The nanomaterial process technology used by NanoGram Devices was originally developed by NeoPhotonics and affiliate NanoGram with a medical device company.

Aprilis acquires holographic media patents

Aprilis (Maynard, MA), a manufacturer of holographic media and data-storage systems, has reached an agreement with Tamarack Storage Devices, a wholly owned subsidiary of Manhattan Scientifics, to acquire 21 holographic-data-storage patents. The acquisition, which follows the recent release by Aprilis of its proprietary holographic-storage media, represents a key step toward the company's goal of producing the first-ever commercial holographic drive (see p. 17). The newly acquired Tamarack patents cover a broad range of important innovations that further solidify Aprilis' position in the holographic-data-storage arena and situates the company to advance a number of initiatives to codevelop holographic drives.

EPSI to produce crystal-growing systems

EPSI (Engineered Pressure Systems; Haverhill, MA) was selected by NDK Crystal (Tokyo, Japan) to design and manufacture eight hydrothermal crystal growing systems, and supporting auxiliary equipment for a new plant in Belvidere, Illinois. EPSI has custom designed the vessels to integrate with NDK's existing synthetic-quartz-crystals manufacturing operation.

By installing EPSI's crystal-growing vessels, NDK will produce the same quality synthetic quartz crystals using only 70% of the current energy demand.

MEMS and microsystems markets continue to boom

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and Microsystems (MST) together represent one of the fastest growing technology areas, according to an updated report from Business Communications Company (BCC; Norwalk, CT). BCC says the worldwide market for MEMS/MST is estimated at $11 billion but is expected to exceed $26 billion by 2007. Sales include existing MEMS/MST products, such as ink-jet printer cartridges, and new products, including radio-frequency filters for cell phones and motor controllers.

Also in the news . . .

The Optics for Hire R&D team, comprised of 18 physicists, optics Ph.D.'s, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, software engineers and CAD designers based in Ukraine and New Dimension Research and Instrument (NDR; Woburn, MA) have announced a collaboration on a new generation of ophthalmoscopes. Optics for Hire will develop the mechanical design and construct prototype units under contract from NDR and using NDR's optical design. . . . DenseLight Semiconductors (Singapore) has appointed William H. Diamond Jr. as chief executive officer, succeeding YeeLoy Lam, who remains the company's chief technology officer. . . . Continuum Photonics (Billerica, MA) has closed on $3 million in equipment financing. . . . Modulight (Tampere, Finland) and High-Tech (Tokyo, Japan) have signed a distribution agreement for selling and promotion of Modulight's products in Japan.

Hassaun A. Jones-Bey

For more business news, subscribe to Optoelectronics Report. Contact Jayne Sears-Renfer at [email protected].

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