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Business briefs

03 Mar 2008

Featuring news from StockerYale, Sharp, Sony, Zygo, Synova. Zecotek, Battelle and more.

• Sales growth in lasers and associated diode revenues helped propel StockerYale to record full-year 2007 sales of $29.9 million, up 55% on the previous year, largely due to the acquisition of Photonic Products. Gross profit of $9 million was also a record, an increase of 35% on 2006. Growth in high margin speciality optical fibres and an increased emphasis on medical markets were among the highlights emphasized by the company, along with ongoing improvements in operating performance at Photonic Products which would continue during 2008.

Sharp and Sony are to establish a joint venture to produce and sell large-size LCD panels and modules by splitting out a Sharp LCD panel plant now under construction in Japan. The new joint venture will seek to produce large-size LCD panels and modules using 10th generation glass substrates, to be supplied to Sharp and Sony in quantities corresponding to their respective investments. The two companies will also study the possibility of jointly developing components for LCD modules to further reinforce their mutual co-operation.

• Materials for use in thin-film and organic photovoltaics (PV) will generate $3.8 billion by 2015, as the PV sector moves beyond niche applications and provides opportunities for both traditional electronic chemicals suppliers and innovative materials firms. According to a new report, thin-film materials such as silicon inks and slivers of crystalline silicon hold the key to future PV development, and eventual commercialization of inorganic nanocrystals could allow energy conversion ratios well into double digits. The copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) PV sector will consume a total of $1.1 billion in materials, as problems with CIGS formulations and fabrication are overcome. Materials Markets for Thin-Film and Organic Photovoltaics is available from NanoMarkets.

Zygo has entered the market for in-line inspection of flip-chip substrates and packaged integrated circuits with its acquisition of Canadian-based Solvision and its Singapore subsidiary. The deal reflects Zygo's strategy of moving to in-line process control applications and expands the company's semiconductor presence beyond wafer-level inspection, according to a statement. Continued product development will occur in Montreal, while the integrated circuits packaging inspection product line will continue to be developed and manufactured in Singapore.

Synova, a developer of water jet-guided laser technology, has joined a research alliance led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems to explore the use of Synova's Laser MicroJet (LMJ) technology with liquids other than pure water to prove LMJ's viability for wafering and microstructuring applications. The Institute has already carried out preliminary investigations into the use of LMJ in the PV industry, and research is expected to continue into 2009. Synova has already entered into a licensing partnership with Manz Automation, which will see an in-line laser edge isolation system on the market later in 2008.

Pro-Lite Technology has been named UK and Ireland distributor for the Konica Minolta range of illuminance and luminance photometers, tri-stimulus colorimeters and spectroradiometers, as well as the full range of spectrometers from Ocean Optics. Pro-Lite's portfolio now encompasses instruments which can be used to characterize the total flux, spectrum, intensity, illuminance, luminance, colour as well as the spatial and angular emission of light from lamps, LEDs and displays, according to the company.

• An agreement between Zecotek Laser Systems Singapore and Fujikura will see the companies jointly develop, manufacture and commercialize laser products, components and systems, including Zecotek's crystal and fibre-based lasers and Fujikura's infrared fibre lasers. All intellectual property, products and processes in the relevant fields will be pooled into a joint programme, with both parties retaining all respective rights to intellectual property and Fujikura as the appointed manufacturer. The agreement also includes a right of first refusal provision for Fujikura to acquire or take another form of equity position in Zecotek, with terms to be mutually agreed.

Battelle has acquired Optimer Photonics, the company formed in 2001 to commercialize the electro-optic waveguide components developed at Battelle for the telecommunications industry. Since its formation Optimer has developed an intellectual property portfolio including optical and electro-optic polymer materials, electro-optic waveguide components and photonic approaches for millimeter-wave generation, which is now owned by Battelle.

• The optical communications division of AdTech Optics will be spun out into a new privately held corporation named D-Tech Optoelectronics. AdTech Optics will continue to invest heavily in advanced semiconductor lasers and their applications in the academic, medical, industrial and security/defence sectors, while D-Tech Optoelectronics will manufacture and sell photodiode and laser diode chips and packages for the communications sector. Mary Fong, chairman and CEO of AdTech Optics, will also assume the responsibilities of chairman and CEO of D-Tech. Xiucheng Wu, also previously of AdTech Optics, will move over to D-Tech as president and CTO.

Abacus, a European distributor of electronic components, has formed Abacus LED to support the solid-state lighting market. The new division will supply LED light sources from Osram and Everlight, drivers from Texas Instruments, National Semiconductor and ST Microelectronics, and thermal management solutions from 3M and Aavid Thermalloy. Selection guides and assistance with field applications engineering is also available.

People

• Matt Kelly has been named head of engineering and operations by Powerlase to oversee all engineering projects with clients in South Korea and the USA, as well as the development of the company's diode-pumped solid state lasers. He will also be involved in the sourcing and procurement of laser components, and oversee the quality control of Powerlase's product assembly.

• Bahaa Saleh has been named the new dean of the University of Central Florida's College of Optics and Photonics. As dean, Saleh will also direct the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) housed within The College of Optics and Photonics.

• D. Scott Dewald has been appointed director of product development by Schneider Optics. He will lead Schneider's international team on digital cinema development while also helping to expand and improve Schneider's entire optical product line.

Optis has appointed Philippe Billaud as vice president for finance. He was previously CFO of ESI Group, a developer of virtual prototyping software.

Optima Research has appointed Leo Chen as optical engineer to support sales of ZEMAX optical design software.

TechnoTeam Vision USA Inc.HÜBNER PhotonicsOmicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbHUniverse Kogaku America Inc.LASEROPTIK GmbHG&HSynopsys, Optical Solutions Group
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