Optics Industry Report

Aug. 1, 2001
Bell Labs' scientists calculate theoretical limits of fiberoptic networks; Intense Photonics acquires DuPont facility; Corning levels patent infringement charges at Highwave...

Bell Labs' scientists calculate theoretical limits of fiberoptic networks
Scientists at Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs (Murray Hill, NJ) have calculated the maximum amount of information that can be transmitted over optical fiber. They looked at telecommunication systems that use wavelength-division multiplexing and estimated how much information could be conveyed from a transmitter to a receiver. Using wavelengths and values typically used in communication networks, the scientists determined that it is theoretically possible to send approximately 100 Tbit of information per second without excessive noise or interference.

Intense Photonics acquires DuPont facility
Optoelectronic-chip manufacturer Intense Photonics (Glasgow, Scotland) has acquired the DuPont Photomasks Inc. (Round Rock, TX) fabrication facility in Hamilton, Scotland. Intense Photonics now has the semiconductor development and manufacturing facilities needed to speed the commercialization of its photonic integrated-circuit fabrication process. The company recently secured US $11 million of equity financing from 3i (Palo Alto, CA) and ACT Venture Capital (Ireland) to commercialize its technology.

Oplink to implement cost-cutting measures
Oplink Communications Inc. (San Jose, CA), a designer and manufacturer of optical components and optical subsystems, recently revealed a cost-cutting initiative that includes accelerating the planned transfer of the majority of its manufacturing operations to Zhuhai, China, by year-end, as well as reducing its San Jose, CA workforce to 400 employees. "In response to continued softening in demand throughout the fiberoptics industry, we have taken these steps to more aggressively reduce expenses, realize ongoing operating inefficiencies, and carefully manage our cash resources for the long term," explained Oplink president Fred Fromm.

Corning levels patent infringement charges at Highwave
A lawsuit alleging patent infringement has been filed by Corning Inc. (Corning, NY) against Highwave Optical Technologies (Lannion, France) in US District Court in Albany, NY. Corning claims that Highwave is infringing its patent involved in the design and manufacture of photonic optical fiber. "Corning invests enormous resources in product and technology research and development," said Frank Little, general manager and division vice president of Corning Optical Transport Products. "This action is part of an ongoing effort to enforce our intellectual property rights."

Newport patent covers semiconductor manufacturing robot
Newport Corp. (Irvine, CA) announced the receipt of a US patent for a 300-mm edge-grip robotic apparatus that allows semiconductor manufacturers to handle 300-mm wafers by their edges during fabrication and testing. Several other patents are pending for automation technology of semiconductor-equipment manufacturing, including a patent involving a "self-teaching" robot for accurate alignment during wafer handling.

Also in the news . . .
PerkinElmer Inc. (Chicago, IL) and MDS Sciex (Toronto, Canada) have teamed up to develop time-of-flight-based mass spectrometry systems for use in proteomics and high-throughput protein processing. . . . Haleos Inc. (Blacksburg, VA) and Newport Corp. (Irvine, CA) plan to jointly develop photonics-manufacturing automation equipment and next-generation fiberoptics. . . . GOU Lite Ltd. (Herzliya, Israel), which specializes in optical laser technology, has changed its name to OTM Technologies Ltd. . . . OpNext Inc. (Atlanta, GA), a newly formed optical-components company majority-owned by Hitachi (Tokyo, Japan), and Velocium, TRW's (Cleveland, OH) new telecommunication-components company, have signed agreements to develop and produce high-speed components. . . . Adept Technology Inc. (San Jose, CA), a manufacturer of flexible automation, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held CHAD Industries Inc. (Orange, CA) in exchange for a combination of equity and cash.

Sally Cole Cederquist

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