Optics Industry Report

June 1, 2000
Agilent will buy American Holographic; French EUV development program underway; and more.

Agilent will buy American Holographic

Boosting its presence in a specialty area, Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) has acquired American Holographic (Fitchburg, MA), a manufacturer of holographic diffraction gratings and spectral sensor modules. American Holographic will become a wholly owned subsidiary within Agilent's Communication Solutions Group and will remain at its current location. Terms of the deal were not announced, but American Holographic brings a product line and skills that include fiberoptic communications, optical test equipment, pulse compression, and spectrographs. Company president and CEO Tom Mikes said that the acquisition will allow American Holographic to more quickly develop, manufacture, and market next-generation gratings.

French EUV development program underway

Falling in line with other extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) lithography development programs, CEA (Grenoble), France's atomic-energy agency, has embarked on its own EUV effort, with an initial goal of developing a test bench capable of exposing EUV resists. Work on the program, known as PREUVE, already is underway at three CEA departments, including LETI, the CEA advanced technologies unit, where researchers are exploring EUV mask development, including multilayer deposition and patterning. Two separate CEA departments—the department of materials science and the department of military applications—are developing laser solutions, with the laser decision planned for next year.

GSI Lumonics sells metrology line to Quality Vision

The VIEW metrology product line has been sold by GSI Lumonics (Kanata, Ontario, Canada) to Quality Vision International (Simi Valley, CA), a privately held company that specializes in vision-based dimensional metrology systems for quality control. The VIEW product line is an automated, noncontact dimensional coordinate-measurement system used in the electronics, telecommunications, and computer-manufacturing industries. Charles Winston, president and CEO of GSI Lumonics, said, "Consistent with our focus on select core markets, we are divesting areas of our business that are no longer strategic to our growth plans."

British government announces plans to sell DERA

The British government has announced plans to sell off three-quarters of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). Included in the plans is splitting the agency into two parts: a private-sector company that will be sold to investors, with a flotation as early as 2001, and a smaller core agency that will remain within the Ministry of Defence. The DERA is one of Europe's largest research organizations, with an annual turnover in excess of £1 billion ($1.6 billion), and is one of the largest employers of physicists in the UK, employing about 9000 research scientists. The government is expected to initially retain a share that would prevent a foreign takeover of the new company.

MRV acquires three companies to strengthen manufacturing base

In a flurry of buying activity, MRV Communications (Chatsworth, CA) announced that it is acquiring Jolt Ltd. (Jerusalem, Israel), Quantum Optech (Taiwan), and Optronics International (Hsinshu, Taiwan) for a combined stock purchase price of 3,400,000 shares. Jolt manufactures optics and systems for wireless communications, Quantum Optech manufacturers optical thin-film coatings, and Optronics International manufactures high-temperature semiconductor lasers, transceivers, and detectors for optical networks.

Also in the news . . .

Schott (Mainz, Germany) has opened a new factory in Jena, Germany, for the production of calcium fluoride crystals. . . . Novotech (Acton, MA), a supplier of specialty materials such as germanium, gallium, and sapphire, has acquired Riotech (Lakeside, AZ), a semiconductor and specialty shaping and polishing company. . . . Nova Crystals, a developer of laser and LED components for fiberoptics applications, has expanded and relocated from Ithaca, NY, to San Jose, CA.

W. Conard Holton

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

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