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Business briefs

26 Nov 2007

Featuring news from the US Department of Energy, eMagin, Research and Markets, Precision Optics, Blonder Tongue, Lumics and others.

• The US Department of Energy has renewed its commitment to fund the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics for a further five years. The agreement is said to constitute the bulk of the laser lab's funding and could amount to $351 million between now and 2012. The Laboratory is the federal agency's largest university-based research program, and forms a key part of the optics and laser expertise in the Rochester area.

• Strong growth in sales of microdisplays and personal imaging technologies helped eMagin to achieve operating profit for the first time during Q3 2007. Revenue rose by 121% compared with the equivalent quarter last year to $5.1 million, said to be a company record. Full-year revenue is now predicted to comfortably exceed the company's projections of $16 million.

• A major program from DARPA aimed at boosting the efficiency of laser diode sources is an example of the current focus on improvements in this area, according to a new report. New application areas are being developed as diode efficiencies and thermal management improve. High Power Diode Laser Sources and Their Impact on Industrial, Medical, and Military Laser Industries available from Research and Markets also includes the findings from an Optoelectronics Industry Development Association forum on diode laser and packaging technology.

Precision Optics announced a net loss of $467k for the quarter ended September 2007, compared to a loss of $688k for the same quarter last year. The improvement was attributed to higher sales volumes and new product introductions across its range of optical instruments, although the need to generate additional revenues to achieve future profitability was acknowledged.

• LEDs pose a particularly strong competitive threat to incandescent lamps in smaller markets such as motor vehicles and indicator lighting, according to a new report. This competition will continue to place pricing pressures on lamp manufacturers as the prices of LEDs and other competitive technologies fall. Compact fluorescent lamps will increasingly replace incandescents, although they too will face competition from LEDs according to Lamps Market in the US published by Freedonia.

A second market report identified the potential for LEDs to soon expand into markets with higher profit margins, along with the need for improvements in both dollars per lumen and lumens per watt to achieve market penetration. Ten manufacturing technologies being developed to improve LED output power were highlighted, including new substrate materials, phosphor composition and deposition, and transparent top contacts. Automotive lighting, architectural lighting and general illumination are the most promising sectors for growth once these technical issues are addressed, according to LED Manufacturing Technologies 08 from Yole Developpement.

• A decrease in fiber sales was offset by higher volumes of digital products according to Q3 results from Blonder Tongue, which showed a slight increase in overall sales to $9.2 million compared with $9 million in the equivalent period of 2006. The company indicated that its China initiative remains on course and helped to reduce costs during the quarter.

• India and Canada are exploring possibilities for cooperation in optics and lasers, and officials from the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology recently visited Canada's Institute of Microstructural Sciences to discuss ways to enhance cooperation on photonics-based products and technology. Canada has offered to assist India in commercializing photonic devices in telecommunications, biomedical diagnostics and space vision systems.

People

Lumics has announced changes to its management to support growth for the company's industrial laser products. Bruno Acklin has been named CEO, joining from JDSU, and Frank Laas has taken responsibility for sales and marketing. Karl Eberl will focus on production and packaging as COO, and Nils Kirstaedter continues to lead R&D and chip production as chief technology officer.

• Greg Guidroz has been appointed chief financial officer by Applied Optoelectronics. He will oversee financial and business development functions for the company's range of laser diodes and photodetectors.

Avanex has appointed Paul Smith to its board of directors to support market growth across its range of fiber optic communications products. Smith has served in marketing and engineering roles at several companies including New Focus and Asante.

EKSMA OPTICS UABEclipse OpticsDelta Optical Thin Film A/SUniKLasersLumencor, Inc.Sacher Lasertechnik GmbHESPROS Photonics AG
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