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Business briefs

02 Jul 2007

Featuring news from Exfo, Zygo, Polatis, Aculight, Cypress Semiconductor, Agilent, Firecomms and others.

Exfo, a Canadian supplier of test and measurement expertise to the telecoms industry, reported sales growth and record bookings for the third quarter ended May 31, 2007. Sales increased 10.7% to $39.2 million compared with Q3 2006, while net bookings improved 15.2% to a record high of $43.7 million. Net earnings reached $2.6 million, compared with $3.5 million in the same quarter last year.

• A medical assembly contract worth $10.2 million has been awarded to Zygo, a US supplier of optical metrology equipment. The contract brings Zygo's awards for medical device contracts in fiscal 2007 to $27 million compared to $10 million in fiscal 2006, and forms part of an initiative to grow the company's electro-optics contract manufacturing business.

Zygo also announced an order from a leading disk drive manufacturer for its new automated metrology system, the UniFire-7900. The system will be used for both surface topography and thin films characterization on magnetic head wafers, and is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2007.

• A new production facility in Poland will be opened by US company Polatis to meet demand for the firm's optical switches. Due to be operational by Autumn 2007 and eventually support 100 people, the new facility will concentrate on manufacture of standard products for telecom and instrumentation markets, while the company's existing plants at Cambridge, UK, and Boston, US, will focus on specialized defense products and new technology development. The company expects total demand for its products to triple during 2007.

• Semiconductor laser manufacturer Aculight has been awarded a subcontract from Pennsylvania State University's Electro-Optics Center (EOC) for $2.6 million over a three-year period, part of a larger contract awarded to EOC by the Office of Naval Research's Manufacturing Technology Program (Navy ManTech). The work will primarily address two types of semiconductor lasers needed in advanced mid-infrared laser transmitters, which are being developed for use in future aircraft infrared countermeasures defensive systems. These systems can autonomously detect, track and jam heat-seeking missiles protecting both military and commercial aircraft.

Cypress Semiconductor will supply a CMOS image sensor solution for InPhase Technologies' Tapestry holographic data storage system. Cypress and InPhase, both US, have collaborated since 2005 on developing ultra-sensitive and ultra-fast CMOS image sensors that can achieve the high-speed reading of data needed by InPhase's Tapestry drive. The Cypress CMOS imager features a digital interface and can read data at 500 frames per second.

Agilent, US, has installed a new reactive magnetron thin-film optical coating system from Leybold Optics, that will be used for coating components that require extremely precise spectral and polarization control. The high-precision Helios System is the first to be installed in North America, and strengthens the company's capacity in low-stress high-performance coatings. Agilent began shipping the first production parts in May 2007 and is currently ramping the system to volume production.

Firecomms, Ireland, has announced that Prohubs will market Firecomms' full range of fiber optic transceiver products in Taiwan. Prohubs' customers include Taiwan's major suppliers of routers, switches, wireless access points, set-top-boxes, VoIP phones and IP cameras.

Firecomms has also expanded its European sales channel through a partnership with MEV Elektronik Service, which will represent Firecomms across central Europe in the key markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Mediscience Technology has reached an agreement with equity partner Infotonics Technology Center (ITC). Under the agreement ITC will develop and commercialize two of Mediscience's medical diagnostic systems, the Optical Biopsy Pill (OBP) and the CD Ratiometer (CDR) which use tissue auto-fluorescence to detect disease states. The companies have agreed to a series of milestones to be achieved through October 2007 for which Mediscience has agreed to pay $2 million. BioScopix, Mediscience's wholly-owned subsidiary, is expected to own the medical diagnostic systems as the technology is further developed.


ficonTEC, a German provider of characterization, processing and assembly automation systems for the semiconductor and optical industries, has appointed Soon Jang as president of North America operations. Jang was previously vice president of marketing and business development at Auxora.

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