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Business briefs

20 Mar 2008

Featuring news from L-3 Communications, QPC Lasers, 3M, Tessera, Osram, Biolase and more.

L-3 Communications has acquired Northrop Grumman's Electro-Optical Systems (EOS) business for $175 million in cash. EOS supplies night-vision technology and electro-optical products for military, commercial and public safety customers, and generated sales of approximately $190 million in 2007. The business will be integrated into L-3's Specialized Products segment, and represents the company's intention of expanding its core offer of image-enhancing products to new sectors.

• A third consecutive year of triple-digit revenue growth helped QPC Lasers to reduce its full-year loses from $18.6 million in 2006 to $9.7 million in 2007. Revenues jumped from $3 million to $7.9 million in the same period, attributed to higher demand for the company's high-power semiconductor sources, its entrance into the consumer electronics market and the launch of the Generation III product family. A focus on improving operational efficiencies while growing top-line revenue was said to be the company's priority over the forthcoming period.

3M is moving the headquarters of its optical systems business from Minnesota to Hong Kong, as part of an effort to move the division closer to customers. The move will be effective immediately, although the company stated that the 300 jobs at the division's current Maplewood site would not be affected. 3M recently cut jobs at its display and graphics unit in response to slow sales. Jim Bauman has been named the new vice-president and general manager for the business, replacing Andy Wong who will retire. Bauman's first tasks will include looking at operations and setting new priorities, according to the company.

• The North Carolina Economic Investment Committee has awarded a Job Development Investment Grant to Tessera. Should the company create the jobs called for under the agreement and sustain them for nine years, the agreement could yield as much as $2.64 million in maximum benefits for the company. The award will support Tessera's consumer optics plans, which include adding 185 jobs and investing approximately $30 million in its Charlotte-based wafer-level optics facilities during the next five years. The company has its roots at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and acquired Charlotte-based Digital Optics Corporation in 2006.

Osram has developed an organic light-emitting diode that is said to demonstrate significant increases in efficiency and lifetime. An efficiency of 46 lm/W, a brightness of 1000 cd/m2 and a lifetime of more than 5000 hours is claimed for the warm white OLED, which approaches the values of conventional lighting solutions and could make the OLED attractive for a variety of applications. The results were achieved under the OPAL research consortium, involving Osram, Siemens, the universities in Darmstadt, Braunschweig and Augsburg, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems in Dresden.

• The Waterlase and Waterlase MD laser systems from Biolase have become the first laser systems to receive 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for root canal disinfection after endodontic instrumentation. In combination with past FDA clearances for obtaining access, cleaning and shaping, this clearance is said to allow Biolase users to perform the complete root canal operation using FDA-cleared procedures. Use of a laser instead of chemical disinfectant is claimed to save up to 30 minutes per procedure.

Novaled has set up a Tokyo branch office, which it says confirms its commitment to the OLED industry in Asia. The office will support existing customers and develop activities in the field of organic electronics, an industry in which Japan is a major centre.

• Multi-spectral filters for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite will be built by Barr Associates, which has been selected as sub-contractor by Ball Aerospace and Technologies. Each filter assembly consists of nine individual spectral bands, and a full instrument consists of 14 filter assemblies. The satellite will be built and launched by NASA and operated by the United States Geological Survey.

• The acquisition of Point Source by Qioptiq has been completed. Integration of Point Source's laser to fibre couplers and fibre-coupled lasers into Qioptiq's Optical Systems Division will now continue. See earlier coverage of the acquisition on optics.org.

People

• Viviane Reding, European commissioner for information society and media, and Thierry Van der Pyl, head of the Photonics Unit of the European Commission, have been recognized by the Optical Society of America as the organization's 2008 Advocates of Optics. The Photonics Unit was launched in January 2007 and aims to be a catalyzing stimulus for quality research at the European and national level. Reding was selected for her work in supporting the Photonics Unit within the Commission, and Van der Pyl is recognized for his leadership within the Unit.

Omicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbHLightPath TechnologiesKentek CorporationALIO IndustriesDIAMOND SAUniverse Kogaku America Inc.Spectrum Scientific Inc. -  SSI Optics
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