10 Dec 2004
Including news from Toshiba, Sharp, ASML, Northrop Grumman, FLIR Systems and more.
General company news:
• Japanese firms Memory-Tech and Toshiba say they have developed a read-only disc that can simultaneously store data in both high definition and standard DVD formats. The single-sided, dual-layer disc stores DVD data in the upper layer (closer to the optical head) and HD DVD data in the lower layer. The DVD layer can be played back on currently-available players.
• Sharp of Japan is increasing its stake in German electronics firm Loewe. Sharp's investment will be € 15 million, making it the majority shareholder in Loewe. In January 2005, the two firms will establish an LCD-TV development centre in Kronach, Germany, to focus on the European broadcasting standard for digital television and developing an integrated receiver for high-definition television.
• ASML's share of the $4.3 billion lithography market will increase to 36.5% in 2004 from 32.6% in 2003, according to a report from analyst The Information Network. This will place ASML ahead of Nikon, which is predicted to have a 35.1% share. Cannon's market share in 2004 is expected to increase from 20.7% to 28.4%.
• Northrop Grumman and United Defense Industries are teaming up to provide the US Army with ground-vehicle-based laser systems to combat threats such as rockets, mortars and unmanned aerial vehicles. Northrop's knowledge of high-energy laser systems will be combined with United's expertise in combat vehicle and armament systems.
• IPG Photonics of the US says that Multitorch of Germany has successfully installed an IPG 1 kW fiber laser for deep welding of spark plugs. IPG says its laser can penetrate to depths in excess of 2.5 mm in highly-alloyed steel using the 1 kW of output power and a 100 micron fiber.
Acquisitions, contracts and funding:
• Xtellus, a maker of dynamic optical modules for reconfigurable optical networks, has acquired the intellectual property assets of fellow US firm SpectraSwitch. On the back of $36 million of funding, SpectraSwitch developed a range of liquid-crystal components for telecoms including switches, variable optical attenuators and tunable filters.
• FLIR Systems, the US infrared camera specialist, has received a contract to provide an advanced electro-optical surveillance system. The contract has a maximum value of $75 million for the delivery on up to 200 systems over a five year period. Delivery of the first thermal imaging systems will take place in the first quarter of 2005.
• Syntune of Sweden has raised $6.2 million in a private equity financing round. The company produces single-chip tunable lasers based on a modulated grating Y-branch design. According to Syntune, the design is easy to manufacture and production can be outsourced removing the need for in-house fabrication facilities.