Optics Industry Report

July 1, 2000
Veeco restructures manufacturing facilities; Holographix acquired by Avane; NIST opens new MEMS facility in Colorado; and more.

Veeco restructures manufacturing facilities

In response to continued weakness in the data-storage business, Veeco Instruments (Plainview, NY) will close the former CVC/Commonwealth Scientific facility in Alexandria, VA. In addition, it will reduce the work force at its data-storage process equipment operations in Plainview and Rochester, NY, and will evaluate cost savings at other locations. Worldwide, the work-force reduction will be approximately 13%, or 180 people. The company will continue to expand telecommunications manufacturing at its Ion Tech subsidiary in Fort Collins, CO. The Plainview, Rochester, and Fort Collins operations will now be designated "centers of excellence." Annual savings are expected to exceed $6 million.

Holographix acquired by Avanex

In search of holographic diffraction gratings for its wavelength-division-multiplexing products, Avanex (Fremont, CA) has acquired Holographix (Hudson, MA). Under terms of the agreement, Avanex will purchase Holographix in exchange for the issuance of approximately 800,000 shares of Avanex common stock and stock options valued together at $75 million. Holographix will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Avanex under current president David Rowe, who will report to Avanex R&D director Giovanni Barbarossa.

NIST opens new MEMS facility in Colorado

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD) has opened a microelectromechanical-systems (MEMS) facility at its Boulder, CO, laboratory. MEMS research is performed in a microfabrication clean room where mechanical and electronic components are integrated. NIST will use its facility to improve metrology at the microscale and nanoscale levels. One goal of this facility is to develop imaging technologies to examine nanometer-scale magnetic phenomena and develop magnetometers that can measure very small magnetic moments and then be discarded. Such devices are desired by the data-storage industry for deposition and process monitoring. Other applications include developing thermal-isolation thin-film membranes for x-ray and infrared detectors and ultrasensitive microcalorimeters.

CVI Laser acquires Technical Optics Limited

Melles Griot Photonics (Irving, CA) has completed sale of Technical Optics Limited (TOL; Isle of Man, England) to CVI Laser (Albuquerque, NM) for an undisclosed sum. TOL manufactures high-quality laser optics and optical thin-film coatings and has been part of Melles Griot for 12 of its 25 years in existence. The acquisition will permit CVI Laser to expand its capacity and improve its participation in the European laser market. Melles Griot will keep TOL products in its product line but believes the sale will help rationalize its production capacity.

California endorses the study of optics

The state of California has awarded the laser-optics program at Yuba College nearly a half-million dollars over the next two years. The first classes in this program, instigated by LEOMA, were in fall 1999, and today some 18 students are completing the one-year course and entering the job market. The new funding will allow the laser-optics program to ramp up to at least 40 graduates per year, will provide needed equipment for the laboratory, and will provide a solid basis for the LEOMA proposal to the National Science Foundation to export the program to other colleges around the USA.

Also in the news . . .

Polaroid (Cambridge, MA) has obtained a worldwide, nonexclusive license to variable-light-transmission suspended-particle-device technology from Research Frontiers (Woodbury, NY). . . . Oerlikon-Bührle Holding has changed its name to Unaxis as part of a restructuring that splits Balzers Leybold Optics and Balzers Thin Films into two separate operating companies. . . . Emcore (Somerset, NJ) is adding 36,000 sq ft to its existing 50,000-sq ft facility in Albuquerque to accommodate demand for telecommunications products. . . . Duncan T. Moore received the 2000 National Engineering Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies "for his multiple contributions in education, industry, and government."

W. Conard Holton

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

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