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Business briefs

19 Nov 2007

Featuring news from nLight, Canon, Tyndall National Institute, JPSA, Universal Display, Biolase, Ionatron and others.

nLight, a manufacturer of high-power semiconductor lasers, has completed its acquisition of Finnish specialty fiber manufacturer Liekki. Integration of Liekki's technology has already started, and the company's direct nanoparticle deposition process was spotlighted as being of particular value to nLight customers.

Canon will take a majority stake in Tokki, a supplier of flat-panel manufacturing equipment. The deal is said to be worth at least $69 million and will accelerate development of organic light-emitting diode panels, according to the company. It will also allow synergy with Canon subsidiary Anelva, which manufactures vacuum and thin-film processing equipment for the production of semiconductors, flat-panel displays and hard disk drives.

• Photonics research in Ireland will benefit from a share of the €20 million ($29 million) awarded by the Irish government to R&D institutions in the Cork area. The Tyndall National Institute, a Centre of Excellence within University College Cork, was awarded €4.2 million to develop two CMOS technologies, known as Evolutionary and Revolutionary CMOS, in a project led by Martyn Pemble. The Institute was also awarded a further €6 million for a project studying photonics integration, which will be led by Frank Peters.

• The Los Alamos National Laboratory has bought an IX-260 ChromAblate excimer laser-based micromachining workstation from JP Sercel Associates. The system is configured with a UV excimer laser, a 193 nm beam delivery system for vacuum UV applications and a single-axis motorized mask positioner.

Universal Display reported a net loss of $2.9 million for Q3 2007, nearly identical to the equivalent quarter last year. Revenue for the quarter was $3 million, also close to the Q3 2006 result. The company stated that the OLED industry was closer than ever to realizing broad commercialization, and pointed to improvements in both revenue and net loss for its chemical supply business as demonstrating that its phosphorescent organic light-emitting diode technology had penetrated further into commercial products.

Biolase reported a fall in revenue for Q3 2007 to $12.8 million, down from $17.1 million in the equivalent quarter last year. Net loss was $3.5 million, compared with a $1 million loss in Q3 2006. The company acknowledged that revenue from its dental laser systems was below expectations, and that sales of the Waterlase MD system showed a significant decrease. Changes to senior management were also announced (see People).

• Silicon inks and nanocrystalline materials being developed for printed electronics and semiconductor applications will also be used in photovoltaics, lighting and display backplanes, according to a new report. Firms working on these materials include Freescale, Innovalight, Micron, Samsung and Seiko Epson. Opportunities for Nanocrystalline Silicon and Silicon Inks in Electronics, October 2007 from Research and Markets also discusses the technical issues involved in making nanocrystalline materials and inks, and how these materials may fair in the marketplace.

Ionatron, a US developer of laser guided energy systems, reported that revenue for the third quarter of 2007 was $3.6 million, up from $1.5 million for the same period last year. Net loss was $5.5 million, compared with a loss of $3.7 million for the equivalent quarter. The company received several new contracts during the quarter, but also suspended development of its remotely operated vehicle platform.

• An expansion of Sterlite's facilities at Aurangabad, India, will double manufacturing capacity for the country's only global provider and integrated manufacturer of optical fiber to 12 million km. The brownfield development is estimated to cost $35 million, with commercial production expected by June 2009. Strong growth in the optical fiber market in India is behind the investment.

CyOptics, a provider of indium phosphide (InP) optical chip and component technologies, has acquired Inplane Photonics, a manufacturer of planar lightwave circuits (PLCs) for optical networks in defense and telecommunications applications. The acquisition expands CyOptics' photonic integrated circuits (PICs) technology platforms through the integration of InP laser and detector arrays onto PLCs. This will reduce the number of components required, increasing the functionality and lowering costs according to the company.

Photonic Products reported revenues of $3.8 million for the third quarter, up 26% from the equivalent period last year. The company predicted that the full year results would see record revenues from its portfolio of photonics products, laser accessories and optical components.

• Strong demand and the first sale of the Gen III 100 W laser system helped QPC Lasers post revenue of $2.2 million for Q3 2007, a rise of 132% on the equivalent quarter last year. The quarter's net loss of $5.1 million represented an improvement over the $8.3 million loss posted in Q3 2006. The company has revised upwards its revenue expectations for the full year to $7-8 million, and anticipates that Gen III will be a strong contributor to revenues in 2008 and beyond. See also QPC Lasers gathers momentum previously on optics.org.

People

• Two senior managers have joined Michelson Diagnostics to support its cancer-imaging optical coherence tomography business. Tom Flynn joins as finance director, bringing experience in health and instrumentation sectors. Katy Draper joins as head of marketing, bringing 20 years experience in commercial healthcare.

• Ron Martin has been appointed chief marketing and strategy officer (CMSO) by Adva Optical Networking, and will also serve as president of the company's North American subsidiaries. Outgoing CMSO Brian McCann will serve in the newly-created position of senior vice president of corporate marketing and strategy. The changes reflect the company's intention to solidify and further expand its position in the North American market.

• Federico Pignatelli has been named interim CEO of Biolase, a developer of dental laser systems, replacing Jeffrey Jones who is leaving the company immediately. Keith Bateman, executive VP of global sales and marketing, is also leaving the company. James Largent, an independent director, will assume some interim responsibilities to assist Pignatelli in overseeing sales and marketing programs and future strategies.

EKSMA Opticsart Photonics GmbHPhoton Engineering, LLCOmicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbHAUREA TECHNOLOGYFocuslight TechnologiesEdmund Optics
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