Optics Industry Report

Aug. 1, 2000
Sematech funds 193-nm photolithography research; UK program to emphasize technology transfer; II-VI outbids Union Miniére for Laser Power; and more

Sematech funds 193-nm photolithography research

Cymer Inc. (San Diego, CA), which supplies excimer-laser illumination sources for deep-ultraviolet photolithography, reports it has received additional funding from the semiconductor research consortium—International Sematech (Austin, TX)—for continued 193-nm research related to lithography applications. Since 1998, Cymer and the consortium have been running a variety of high-repetition-rate lifetime tests to evaluate long-term optical damage commonly associated with lasers at the 193-nm wavelength. During the experiments, scientists discovered a previously unknown and unexpected optical damage mechanism. This latest round of funding will support further research in this area and will focus on the characterization of optical materials essential to the successful commercialization of 193-nm technology for photolithography.

UK program to emphasize technology transfer

The goal of a new UK-based photonics program called Optical Systems for the Digital Age is to increase collaboration between research groups and small to midsized companies. Funding from the UK government will total £11 million ($16.5 million) over five years—money will be matched pound-for-pound in each of the successful proposals by the collaborating companies. Though aimed at UK companies primarily, the program is also open to other companies that have the potential to develop optoelectronics business in the UK. Research areas include optical communications, imaging and sensor networks for a variety of applications, compact high-efficiency laser systems for medicine and industry, and optics in computing, including display technology. Successful proposals will see a university research group working with two companies—a manufacturer and a potential end user—to transfer technologies pioneered in academia into real-world applications. The deadline for outlined proposals is Sept. 14.

II-VI outbids Union Miniére for Laser Power

US optical-components maker II-VI Inc. (Saxonburg, PA) has signed a definitive merger agreement with Laser Power (Murrieta, CA) after a year-long bidding war with Belgium's Union Miniére. With the acquisition, which will give II-VI a 20% share of the market in CO2 laser optics, its wholly owned subsidiary II-VI Acquisition Corp. will merge with Laser Power. Based on the closing price of II-VI common stock at the end of June, the value of the purchase to Laser Power's stockholders was approximately $52 million ($5.37 per share).

Linos AG purchases Rodenstock Präzisionsoptik

Linos AG (Göttingen, Germany), a manufacturer of optical-system solutions and components, has taken over the business activities belonging to Rodenstock Präzisionsoptik GmbH (Munich, Germany), a former subsidiary of the Rodenstock concern. Both companies offer optoelectronics services in information technology and communications, health-care and life sciences, and manufacturing industrial sectors, but their product ranges and services differ so there is no significant overlap in products. There will be consolidation, though, specifically in the USA, where the separate sales activities of the existing subsidiaries are being combined.

OPTATEC gains ground

Estimates are that attendance at the biennial 5th Optatec show (Frankfurt, Germany) was 8% higher than the last time the show, which focuses on optical components and related production technology, was held in 1998. Total attendance was 6519 visitors, including people attending three collocated trade shows—CleanRooms Europe, CleanTech, Europe, and TechMed/Medical Device Technology. Exhibition area also grew by almost 14%, with some 40% of exhibitors coming from outside Germany.

Also in the news . . .

Newport Corp. (Irvine, CA), which produces RAM optical vision metrology products, has signed a letter of intent to acquire UK-based coordinate-measuring machine-supplier International Metrology Systems. . . . Microcosm Technologies (Cary, NC) has acquired Coyote Systems Inc. (San Francisco, CA), which focuses on MEMS software development.

Paula Noaker Powell

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

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