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Business briefs

12 Nov 2007

Featuring news from Rofin-Sinar, Lumera, BAE Systems, Orbotech, Samsung, Kopin, Novaled, Ocean Optics and others.

Rofin-Sinar, a German developer of laser sources, has announced results for both Q4 and fiscal year 2007. Net sales in Q4 rose by 12% compared to the equivalent quarter of the previous year to $130.5 million. For the fiscal year, sales rose by 14% to $479 million. Gross profit was $56.4 million for the quarter and $203 million for the year, increases of 19% and 14% respectively. The company highlighted a focus on industrial applications as contributing to its results, and predicted continued high demand along with a strong Asian market.

• Fourth quarter revenue for photonics communication developer Lumera fell to $624,000, down 39% compared to the equivalent quarter last year. The company reported a loss of $4.8 million for the same period, a decline from the $2.7 million loss in Q4 2006. Lumera stated that the commercialization of the ProteomicProcessor system during 2008 would form part of the company's move towards future profitability, along with the receipt of an order for 100 Gbit/s modulators and the introduction of 40 Gbit/s polymer modulators.

BAE Systems has received an $18.5 million, 30-month contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a new class of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems and capabilities. The company will lead DARPA's Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) program, developing advanced ISR systems for wide-area persistent monitoring. The systems are intended for use in Department of Defense unmanned and manned surveillance platforms.

• Challenging conditions in both flat-panel display (FPD) and printed circuit board (PCB) markets were reflected in third quarter figures from Orbotech. Revenues fell to $82.3 million, down by 7% compared to Q3 2006, and net income was $0.4 million, compared to $16.2 million in the equivalent quarter last year. The company stated its belief that the fourth quarter will be stronger for its PCB inspection systems, based on customers' expansion plans. It predicted that the current FPD industry downturn has now reached its low point, with a rebound in the company's flat-panel inspection business expected in the second half of 2008 as manufacturers begin construction of new fabrication facilities.

Samsung's executive vice president Ho Kyoon Chung believes that 40 inch HD OLED TVs will be produced in 2010. His predicted road map for the technology also included panels between 3.5 and 7 inches in ultramobile PCs during 2008, and production of 14, 15 and 21 inch panels in 2009. Other companies active in the field include Toshiba, who plan to sell a 30 inch OLED TV by 2009. Samsung began volume production of OLED screens in September 2007 and is currently building 1.5 million 2 inch screens per month, with plans to increase production to 3 million screens in 2008. The company also plans to commercialize a flexible OLED screen by 2012, and has set a goal of one euro cent per lumen as a price target.

• A microdisplay manufactured by Kopin has been adopted by the US Army for its TWS Bridge thermal weapon sight system. The CyberDisplay 640M LVR is designed to operate at temperatures as low as -40ÂșC and function without the need for an external heater, reducing power consumption. The TWS Bridge has potential volumes exceeding 150,000 units.

• Cameras from Andor Technology have helped a team of planet hunters to discover three new planets. The UK-led Super WASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) Program uses wide-angle lenses, large-area CCD cameras and cooled sensors supplied by the Belfast-based developer of CCD camera systems. The WASP team at Queens University Belfast are the only team to have found transiting planets in the northern and southern hemispheres, according to the group.

• A white OLED manufactured by Novaled has demonstrated an efficiency of 35 lm/W and a lifetime of 100,000 hours at a brightness of 1000 cd/m2, according to the company. Based on proprietary technology, the device is claimed to represent an improvement in the performance of white LEDs and be a significant step towards reaching the goal of 100 lm/W combined with long lifetimes.

Ocean Optics, a US developer of miniature photonics and optical sensing, has established a regional center in Ostfildern, Germany, to serve customers in Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Ocean Optics EMEA will support sales, training, deployment and educational offerings through the company's offices in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France. High growth in these markets and provision of enhanced customer service is said to be behind the change.

People

• Three new executives have been appointed by Intense, a UK developer of high power laser arrays and diodes. Michael Fichtner will serve as business development director for HPL Europe, managing the European distribution channel for the company's high-power diode lasers. Matthew Philpott, previously with Coherent, joins as business development director of HPL North America. Scott Grayman will serve as account manager to oversee all key account sales of Intense-HPD laser diodes. All three positions will report to Kevin Laughlin, vice president for HPL global business development.

JMAR, a US developer of laser, photonics and detection technologies, has elected Richard Naughton to the company's board of directors. Formerly a Vice Admiral in the US Navy, Naughton brings experience in defense and security sectors and was also CEO of vision systems-manufacturer Xenonics.

Lumera announced the resignation of Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir from its board of directors due to health reasons. He will continue to be a member of the company's scientific advisory board.

• Robert Afzal has been promoted to vice president of research and development by Aculight, a developer of laser solutions. He was previously director of technology development. The company has also announced the appointment of Cheryl DeBoise as chief financial officer.

Schaefter und Kirchhoff GmbHKentek CorporationBoston Electronics Corporationart Photonics GmbHBristol Instruments, Inc.Lumencor, Inc.LouwersHanique
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