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Business briefs

13 Dec 2002

Including news from Coherent, FLIR Systems, Matsushita Electric Works, SPI and more.

•  Coherent is buying fellow US-based firm Molectron Detector (MDI) for USD 11.5 million in cash. "The acquisition of MDI provides our customers with the broadest selection of laser test and measurements equipment available," said Coherent's president John Ambroseo.

•  FLIR Systems, US, has received two contracts totaling USD 7.8 million to supply the US National Guard with airborne thermal imaging systems. FLIR will upgrade 43 systems currently being used for reconnaissance. The Guard has the option to extend the contract to 100 systems, which would raise contract's value to USD 18 million.

•  Alfalight, a US maker of high-power laser diodes, has secured USD 15 million in third-round venture capital funding. This brings the total investment since the company's founding to USD 49.1 million. The company will use the cash to develop cheaper devices that emit higher powers.

•  Matsushita Electric Works (MEW) of Japan and US-based Nanosys have teamed up to develop solar cells based on nanotechnology. The venture intends to make nanocomposite organic cells that are as efficient as silicon versions. It also hopes to extend the cell's lifetime and reduce production costs. MEW plans to use the cells in residential and commercial buildings in Asia by 2007.

•  SPI, a UK-based optical components supplier, is to supply QinetiQ with distributed feedback (DFB) fiber lasers for acoustic sensing applications. The value of the contract was not disclosed. The lasers will be used for sensing applications such as LIDAR, seismology, ocean bed surveying and gas pipeline monitoring.

•  Defense giant Northrop Grumman has received a contract worth USD 12.9 million to supply the US Air Force with its MarkVII handheld laser targeting technology. The contract will run to June 2004. The Mark VII is a lightweight, handheld target location system with an eyesafe laser rangefinder and switchable direct view or image intensifier capability.

The US Air Force Material Command has also contracted Northrop Grumman to research the physiological effects that occur when personnel are exposed to laser radiation. Topics to be studied include: laser safety, vision science, laser eye protection and personnel susceptibility. The USD 45 million contract will last five years.

First Light ImagingCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.HÜBNER PhotonicsLaCroix Precision OpticsCeNing Optics Co LtdMad City Labs, Inc.ECOPTIK
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