24 Feb 2006
Including news from Coherent, Vistec Semiconductor Systems, MC2, Colibrys and more.
General company news:
• Adaptive Optics Associates, a subsidiary of Metrologic Instruments, has been awarded $6.8 million in additional funding from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The funding authorizes delivery of input and output sensor packages and light source launchers for use on the National Ignition Facility, US.
• Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden, has secured a contract with the European Commission to open up its renowned nanofabrication laboratory (MC2) free-of-charge to European researchers. Dubbed MC2ACCESS, the project will run for the next 4 years and is open to universities and other organizations that freely disseminate their results.
• In an update to shareholders, UK fiber laser maker SPI Lasers has announced that it has won initial orders in two new markets - plastics welding and medical aesthetics. According to the firm, the orders could generate sales of up to $2 million over the next 12 to 18 months.
• Leica Microsystems Semiconductor has changed its name to Vistec Semiconductor Systems. The name change follows last year's takeover of Leica's semiconductor business by Golden Gate Capital, an investment company based in San Francisco, US.
• Nichia of Japan has sent a warning letter to LED maker Harvatek advising the Taiwanese firm that it is infringing on one of Nichia's design patents (Taiwanese Patent Certificate No. 089,036). The design patent relates to an SMD-type LED which is commonly used to backlight cell phone displays.
• Coherent is to acquire Excel Technologies in an all-cash transaction valued in the region of $376 million. Excel makes laser systems and components for industrial, commercial and scientific applications. Coherent intends to raise the funds through a combination of available cash and external financing. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2006. "We have highlighted the long-term growth potential of the materials processing market and the need for consolidation in the photonics industry," said Coherent's CEO John Ambroseo. "The acquisition of Excel addresses both points."
• Advanced Research Technologies (ART), a Canadian developer of optical molecular imaging products, has acquired Alerion Biomedical, a US maker of biomarkers, for an undisclosed sum. "ART will now have the capability to supply biomarker and imaging agents for the preclinical and clinical markets," said ART's president Micheline Bouchard.
• Polatis, a US supplier of optical switching products, has announced a distribution agreement with Marubun Corporation of Japan. The deal makes Polatis' optical switch trays and modules available to Marubun's network of Japanese sales channels.