10 Dec 2007
Featuring news from Imagine Optic, 3M, Tessera, Bystronic, Toptica, and others.
Business briefs Featuring news from Imagine Optic, 3M, Tessera, Bystronic, Toptica, and others.
• The California Institute of Technology and the University of California have received a $200 million commitment over nine years from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation toward the further development and construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT). Matching gifts from the two institutions are expected to bring the total to $300 million. TMT will be the largest telescope in the world, utilizing six laser beams to create luminous spots in Earth's upper atmosphere as reference points for measuring the turbulence in the atmosphere.
• Preliminary results from Imagine Optic, a French company specializing in adaptive optics technologies, indicate that sales to the US market has increased by more than 100% during 2007, while growth in Europe and Asia has continued its steady growth. The company attributes its success to increasing demand for its adaptive optics products, most notably the AOKit-bio for bioimaging applications (see Imagine Optic targets bioimaging with AOkit). The company says that it will continue to develop its adaptive optics and wavefront sensor product lines in 2008 to meet the needs of other applications.
• 3M plans to cut 141 jobs through layoffs and attrition at its US display and graphics unit, which makes products including films for use in liquid-crystal-display televisions. The company had previously indicated that demand for optical films for high-end LCD TVs is slowing and that it would look to offer new products at the low end of the market, which is more popular but offers lower margins.
• A graduate school focused on biophotonics, lasers, optical materials and systems has been set up by the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. The Graduate Research School of Photonics will operate from 2008 to 2013 and co-operate closely with the Jena Graduate Academy, expanding research and teaching in the field and providing industry with trained specialists. This joint initiative of industry, science and the state of Thuringia is a further example of the optics expertise in the Jena area, according to the University.
• Cranfield University has opened the Hexagon Loxham Precision Laboratory, a facility designed for leading-edge ultra-precision research. The laboratory will aid Cranfield’s research into the manufacture of mirrors for Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWT), as well as developing technologies for astronomical and medical research. It will also support students studying on Cranfield’s Ultra Precision Technologies course.
A separate announcement from the JWT team stated that a preliminary design review has verified the performance of all subsystems in the optical telescope element, a significant step towards fabrication according to program manager Northrop Grumman. The optical element includes a 6.5 m primary mirror along with secondary and tertiary mirrors and supporting structures, and completion of the review allows the final telescope design to proceed (see Lightweight Optics star in Hubble’s successor).
• Tessera has licensed its OptiML Focus technology to Toshiba Corporation in a deal that builds on previous co-operation between the companies. The technology is claimed to provide deep focus from 20 cm to infinity simultaneously, along with enhanced low-light performance for camera modules in digital cameras, mobile phones and PDAs. See previous coverage of OptiML on optics.org.
• The 2007 Frost & Sullivan award for product innovation in the European laser cutting market has been presented to Bystronic, a supplier of cutting solutions for metal and other sheet products. The company’s ByVention platform has an integrated laser source and precise motion control unit, which is claimed to provide a shorter beam length and a higher accuracy in cutting operations.
• Univet has appointed ES Technology as its UK agent for laser safety eyewear. The Italian company’s range of protective eyewear incorporating polycarbonate or glass filters will be available alongside ES Technologies existing portfolio of laser components, engraving and marking systems.
• The laser division of Arima Optoelectronics is now called Arima Lasers and will be the distributor of Arima’s range of CW lasers. The diodes are available from 635 nm to 850 nm with optical output powers from 3 mW to 500 mW.
• The CyberEVF 230K electronic viewfinder from Kopin will be incorporated into Fuji’s FinePix S8000fd camera, the second Fujifilm model to use a Kopin EVF module. Strong demand for SLR-style cameras and their high-zoom capability is said to be behind the expanded relationship between the companies.
Kopin also announced that the 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill included $1.6 million for development of the company’s enhanced microdisplays for night vision applications. The systems will offer high-resolution full-color capability and improved target recognition to soldiers in hostile environments.
• Mark Tolbert as been named president and CEO by Toptica and will be responsible for all aspects of its laser manufacturing operations in the US. The appointment indicates the company’s move from a distribution model to a full service organization, according to a statement.
• ESI, a provider of photonic and laser systems for micro-engineering applications, has named Paul Oldham as CFO, vice president of administration and corporate secretary. Oldham brings many years of financial management experience from Tektronix.
• Two sales personnel have joined Rofin-Baasel to support its UK operations. Paul Hughes joins the Marking division, supporting sales of the company’s marking and engraving systems. Adrian Bolton joins the Micro division, which supplies solutions for fine cutting, fine welding, micro structuring and perforation.