08 Jul 2005
Including news from Neophotonics, GSI Group, AU Optronics, Leica and more.
• Leica Microsystems of Germany has been bought by US manufacturing firm Danaher for EURO 450 million. The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the third quarter. Leica Microsystems provides optical systems for imaging and processing microstructures and employs 3700 staff. "As part of Danaher, we expect to be able to extend Leica Microsystems' leadership in its fields of operation, particularly in medicine and biotechnology," said Wolf-Otto Reuter, CEO of Leica Microsystems.
• AU Optronics, the Taiwanese maker of flat-panel displays, has acquired IBM's patents on the topic of TFT-LCD technology. Approximately 170 US patents, together with their counterparts for other countries, will be transferred to AUO. As of May 2005, the firm owns 1100 patents worldwide with another 2800 applications pending.
• The two optical component makers NeoPhotonics and Photon Technology have completed their merger. Photon Technology is China's largest active component manufacturer with production facilities in Shenzhen. NeoPhotonics is a Californian developer of passive planar lightwave circuits. The new firm, called NeoPhotonics, has around 1200 employees and expects revenues to exceed $50 million in 2005.
• Universal Display Corporation (UDC) says it has developed a sky blue phosphorescent OLED (PHOLED) with a lifetime of 15000 hours. With a peak emission wavelength of 474 nm, the PHOLED is said to be the first blue material to break the 1000 hour lifetime barrier. UCD demonstrated the record-breaking lifetime at 200 cd/m2 but adds that the PHOLED is not yet ready for commercial full-color applications.
• GSI Group has received an order totalling over $6 million for multiple M450 WaferRepair memory processing systems. According to GSI, the order was placed by a major Korean semiconductor manufacturer.
• Sharp will begin mass-producing thin-film photovoltaic modules at its Katsuragi plant in Japan by the end of September. The module integrates amorphous silicon with crystalline thin-film technology which is said to raise the product's conversion efficiency to 11%. Sharp has invested ¥2 billion in the production line, which will have an annual capacity of 15 MW.
• Intel and Corning are teaming up to develop ultra-low thermal expansion glass photomask substrates, which are required for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. The firms say the joint development program will help to enable microelectronics production at the 32 nm node starting in 2009.
• US laser specialist Aculight has won a $1.08 million contract from Lockheed Martin to develop a compact Nd:YVO4 diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) laser. The laser will act as an infrared light source in the US Army's Loitering Attack Missile (LAM).
• The advanced optical systems division of image capture specialists Metrologic has been awarded $1.4 million in additional funding from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Adaptive Optics Associates, a subsidiary of Metrologic, will supply two Output Sensor Packages and six Input Sensor packages for use on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) Construction Project.
• GE has opened its first quartz manufacturing facility in China. Representing an investment of more than $23 million, the plant will produce high tolerance, quartz tubing to serve the global lighting industry. The firm's quartz business operates six other facilities globally, four in the US and one each in Germany and Japan.
• IPIX, the US-based supplier of specialist imaging products, has secured a $2.4 million DARPA research contract to build the world's highest resolution video camera. Serving as a security and forensic tool, the camera will be used in aerial surveillance to generate high resolution, wide area views from high altitudes.