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Business briefs

03 Dec 2007

Featuring news from BCC Research, Tarquin, Precision Optics, Matrox, LG Philips, Gooch & Housego and others.

• The global market for photonic crystals will be worth $32 million in 2008 and reach $666 million by 2013 according to a new report. The largest sector will be light emission, expected to rise from $12 million to $295 million over the period. Strong growth is also predicted in information technology applications as CMOS transceivers based on photonic crystals become available, boosting this sector from $7 million to $212 million. Photonic Crystals: Technology and Global Markets from BCC Research cites a rapid increase in patent applications, a migration of research reports from physics to engineering journals and the launch of research programs at government and corporate labs as evidence of the interest in this technology.

• Results from laser systems supplier Process Photonics and automated inspection company Dipix contributed to a rise in revenue for the Tarquin group to $2 million for Q2 2008, compared to $580k in the equivalent quarter last year. A corporate strategy of growth through acquisitions was said to be the direct cause of the revenue growth, although the quarter's net loss of just over $1 million was worse than the previous year's $251k.

Precision Optics intends to reduce its work force as a result of operating losses that are expected to continue through 2008. Although total revenue for Q1 2008 increased due to shipments of a surgical visualization system to a new customer, the company reported a net loss of $467k and has instigated cost containment plans and work force reductions. New products including a sinuscope and a laproscope are expected to generate new revenues and assist the company towards profitability, according to a statement.

Matrox Imaging has appointed InviSys as its distributor in Brazil to supply Matrox's complete line of hardware and software components to industrial and scientific imaging customers. The deal is said to indicate the strong growth underway in automated inspection systems in Brazil as companies in the manufacturing sector install such systems for the first time.

LG Philips LCD has settled its dispute with Taiwan's Chunghwa Picture Tubes concerning LCD technology. The agreement sees the dismissal of two pending patent lawsuits between the companies and includes a deal allowing the companies to use each others patented technology. As part of the settlement, CPT will also pay an undisclosed amount in compensation to LG Philips LCD.

• The federal court in Los Angeles has dismissed two of the five patents involved in an infringement lawsuit brought by Veeco Instruments against Asylum Research, a supplier of atomic force microscopes and imaging modules. Other claims still outstanding are scheduled to go to trial in March 2008, and Asylum stated its wish that they should now be dealt with as soon as possible.

Gooch & Housego, a UK manufacturer of optical components and systems, announced that turnover in the year ended September 2007 rose by 21% to £30.7 million ($61 million). Pre-tax profit rose by a similar amount to £7.1 million. Strong revenue and growth in the company's acousto-optics and precision optics products, as well as the acquisition of SIFAM Fibre Optics, were said to have contributed to the results.

• The first HD DVD Class-A verification laboratory in Europe has been opened by DaTARIUS at the company's Austria headquarters. It will supply quality control expertise and testing-on-demand for optical media manufacturers and act as a resource to support growth of the HD DVD format. The European lab complements two similar labs in the US and eight in the Asia-Pacific region.

• The dtect infrared imaging system developed by Vehicle Occupancy Limited that automatically counts the number of people in moving road vehicles, recently spotlighted on optics.org, has won an innovation award from the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Raydiance has announced a collaboration with Rutgers University and the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation, the largest tissue bank in the US, to develop the use of the company's ultrashort pulse laser for skin transplant procedures. The collaboration will explore new ways to use the laser platform to instantly vaporize material without heat or residual damage at very precise scales, down to a resolution of several microns. Faster and cheaper tissue transplant procedures for burn victims, cancer patients or other skin trauma could result, according to the company. See also previous coverage of the Raydiance platform on optics.org.

Philips will acquire the luminaires company Genlyte in transaction that builds on Philips' earlier acquisition of LED specialist Color Kinetics. The deal will give Philips a leading position in the North American luminaires market along with a platform for accelerating the adoption of green lighting technologies, according to the company. Closure of the transaction is expected in the first quarter of 2008.

Power Technology has formed the Photonic Component Group to supply laser components to OEM customers. Components from Sanyo, Eagleyard, Snake Creek Lasers, and InTopto among others will be available from the new division.

• Development of the first single-photon counting module optimized for 1064 nm has been initiated by Princeton Lightwave and id Quantique. The program will involve Princeton Lightwave developing an InGaAsP/InP avalanche photodiode optimized for Geiger mode operation with high-efficiency at 1064 nm, and id Quantique combining this photodiode with its integrated active quenching circuit. The detector module will target applications in free-space quantum key distribution, remote sensing, and spectroscopy.


• Kate Rundle has been appointed vice president and general counsel by Bookham, a supplier of optical components and subsystems, succeeding Tom Kelly. She has previously worked at companies including MIPS Technologies and Sun Microsystems.

• Dave Welch of Infinera has been elected to the board of the Optical Society of America, for a three-year term beginning January 1st 2008. He has also been named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, in recognition of his contributions to semiconductor lasers and photonic integrated circuits.

• Paul Heal has been appointed a non-executive director of Gooch & Housego. He joins from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

CeNing Optics Co LtdSPECTROGON ABLASEROPTIK GmbHHyperion OpticsOptikos Corporation LaCroix Precision OpticsUniverse Kogaku America Inc.
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