Laser Industry Report

May 1, 2003
Florida commits $10 million to photonics; Scotland invests in O/E packaging; Boston Laser buys SLI assets; MORE...

Florida commits $10 million to photonics

The Florida State Board of Education will spend $10 million to establish the Florida Photonics Center of Excellence at the University of Central Florida (UCF; Orlando). UCF already is home to the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL), one of the leading centers for laser research in the United States. The investment will give UCF the resources to expand its photonics efforts into nanophotonics, biophotonics, advanced imaging and three-dimensional displays, and ultrahigh bandwidth communications. About $4 million is planned to fund competitive research proposals throughout the state for work in those areas.

Scotland invests in O/E packaging

Scotland's growing role in the global optoelectronics industry has been given a major boost with the announcement of a new £4.2 million (US$6.75 million) facility devoted to R&D for packaging complex optoelectronic chips. The new facility, which will begin operations this summer in Livingston, will specialize in the development of processes to arrange delicate circuitry in the protective packaging that allows optoelectronic devices to interface and connect to external networks via optical fibers and electronic connections. It will also develop similar solutions that can be transferred to other emerging technologies. The center is being developed in conjunction with the Scottish Optoelectronics Association and has funding from both Scottish Enterprise and the European Regional Development Fund.

Boston Laser buys SLI assets

Boston Laser has organized a group of European investors for acquisition via a separate holding company of all assets of Semiconductor Laser International (SLI). According to Aharon Meytahl, president and CEO of Boston Laser, the acquisition is part of the company's strategic goal to increase sales and complete its vertical integration by establishing its own wafer-manufacturing facility. Combining the two operations doubles the company's sales, and the MBE crystal-growing facility provides shorter response time for growing aluminum-free and other wafers. Boston Laser has now relocated its operations to Binghamton, NY, and all members of the senior technical staff from Boston have moved to Binghamton.

Finisar acquires Genoa

Finisar (Sunnyvale, CA), a provider of gigabit fiberoptic solutions for high-speed data networks, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Genoa (Fremont, CA) for $5.5 million. Founded in 1998, Genoa has developed novel linear semiconductor optical amplifiers for amplifying DWDM wavelengths for telecom applications and a unique approach for making long-wavelength vertical cavity emitting lasers. With the acquisition, Finisar will gain access to these technologies and to a state-of-the-art wafer-fabrication facility. Genoa president and CEO Fariba Danesh will now become senior vice president and COO of Finisar. In conjunction with the acquisition, Finisar plans to close its Demeter Technologies division (El Monte, CA) and consolidate all active device development and manufacturing into the Genoa facility.

Zygo expands defense business

Zygo (Middlefield, CT) has created a new business development group to enhance its presence in the defense and aerospace electro-optic systems industries. The new organization, named Zygo Applied Optics (ZAO), will further strengthen Zygo's precision optical instrumentation businesses by adding significant electro-optical design and development capabilities. The ZAO group will also augment Zygo's expanding high-precision optical-assembly business located in Tucson, AZ. Engineers at ZAO will also be applying advanced fiberoptic technologies to the next generation of motion measurement and interferometric products offered by Zygo.

Also in the news . . .

Beginning July 1, Rolf Biekert will serve as president and CEO of Trumpf (Farmington, CT), the North American subsidiary of the Trumpf Group (Schramberg, Germany). Biekert will succeed Peter Leibinger, who is returning to Germany to serve as president of Trumpf Laser . . . . DuPont (Wilmington, DE) has formed DuPont Photonics Technologies (Wilmington, MA) to leverage DuPont's existing expertise in polymeric materials and planar lightwave circuit integration technology to develop, manufacture, and market planar integrated photonic devices for use in optical networks for the telecommunications industry. . . . Photo Sciences (Torrance, CA) and Leister Technologies (Itasca, IL) are partnering to support the needs of the laser plastic welding and microfluidics industry. . . . Polatis (Cambridge, England) has been awarded a core patent relating to its photonic switching platform. The patent, GB2372834, covers the company's unique micro-actuation and sensor technology and its application in photonic M × N switches.

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