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Business briefs

14 Apr 2008

Featuring news from Sunny Optical, Elbit, Powerlase, Research and Markets, Sony Europe and more.

• The Chinese optoelectronics group Sunny Optical reported revenues of RMB1.38 billion ($191 million) for 2007, a rise of 53% compared to the previous year. Gross profit rose by a similar amount to RMB376 million. Two of the company's three business units posted substantial sales increases: optical components sales rose by 66%, and optoelectronic products sales increased by 57%. Growth of the optical instruments business was more modest, rising by 4% compared to 2006. The company's client base expanded during the year, with Samsung becoming its largest client. Sunny intends to set up a subsidiary in Singapore and sales offices in Europe and the US during 2008, according the company.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has selected Elbit Systems Electro-Optics Elop to supply head-up displays (HUDs) for the new F-16 aircraft. An initial order worth $3.8 million has been placed, with the full potential value of the deal being dependent on the level of future F-16 sales. The agreement is a continuation of existing cooperation between the two companies on HUD development.

• The Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography System Development Association, a group of nine companies working to perfect the use of discharge produced plasma (DPP) as a source for extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL), has purchased a Starlase A08 laser from Powerlase, a developer of DPSS sources for industrial applications. DPP is said to be one of two sources, along with laser produced plasma, capable of generating the 13.5 nm light required for successful EUVL, and Starlase lasers are claimed to be the only commercial laser capable of producing the high-power, high-repetition source used to ignite DPP.

• Real-time monitoring of welding operations can use infrared and optical sensors to provide accurate process control and reliable defect detection, according to a new report. Such methods are of growing interest as welding processes become increasingly automated and operate at higher speeds in more difficult environments. Real-Time Weld Process Monitoring from Research and Markets reviews the monitoring techniques available and their application to particular aspects of the welding process, such as seams and profiles. The report also discusses the monitoring of laser welding, using optical sensing methods and frequency analyses of optical emissions.

Sony Europe's Image Sensing Solutions division has announced a new network of distributors across Eastern Europe, in recognition of the significant growth opportunities available in the region. The network currently includes partners in several territories: Business Media based in Moscow, Russia; Tayama in Katowice, Poland; Elvia based in Prague, Czech Republic; and Mitax in Budapest, Hungary. Each will market Sony's camera technology to OEM customers and system integrators in their territories. The distributors' knowledge of individual industrial markets and the local language is expected to accelerate market penetration of Sony's image and video acquisition products in a fast-growing sector, according to the company.

Seoul Semiconductor has signed a license agreement with Professor Gertrude Rothchild, formerly with Columbia University, which is said to guarantee sales of the company's LEDs in the US. Professor Rothchild filed a complaint in the US International Trade Commission against 34 companies earlier in 2008, but the agreement with Seoul Semiconductor will provide unrestrictive sales of LED products in the US market and reassure the company's vendors and customers, according to a statement.

• The European Photonics Innovation Village Awards, organised by Rhenaphotonics Alsace and SPIE Europe under the patronage of the Photonics Unit of the European Commission, were awarded during Photonics Europe. The five prize winners were:

Best Overall Product: Diffractive/refractive endoscopic UV-imaging system, University of Stuttgart and University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
Best Marketability: Femtosecond-pulse fibre laser for microsurgery and marking applications, Multitel, Belgium.
Best Design: Flexible artificial optical robotic skins, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
Best Application: Micro-optical detection unit for lab-on-a-chip, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
Best Technology: 3D tomographic microscope, Lauer Microscopie, France.

The winners received €3000 ($4700), and advertorials worth €13400 to support the emergence of their projects.

• CCD imaging sensors from e2v have been launched into space on board the European Space Agency's Jules Verne spacecraft, the first automated transfer vehicle (ATV) to be sent to the International Space Station. The company's CCD47-20 image sensors were selected for two key systems: an SED16 star tracker used for determining the orientation of the spacecraft by measuring its position relative to stars, and a Videometer system which is the primary rendezvous and docking sensor for the spacecraft. ATVs are said to be essential in delivering supplies to the space station every 18 months.

BFi OPTILAS has signed distribution agreements with two photonics suppliers. It will distribute Cascade Technologies scientific products in several European territories including Germany, France, Italy and the UK. Cascade offers mid-IR quantum cascade lasers and mid-IR tunable laser systems to both R&D and industrial/OEM environments.

In a separate agreement, BFi OPTiLAS will distribute the OSI Optoelectronics range of components and products in France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK. OSI predicts that the deal will significantly expand their business in Europe, according to the company.


IPG Photonics has appointed Jim Stathis as director of diode sales, in support of the company's entry into the merchant diode business announced earlier in 2008. The company has also named Mike O'Connor as director of government and special applications, to accelerate IPG's increasing traction in the government laser market. Milt Vardakis has been appointed business development manager for materials processing, to strengthen sales of low- and mid-power fibre lasers.

• Glenn Collinson has been appointed as a non-executive director of MicroEmissive Displays, a developer of polymer-OLED microdisplays. The company has also named Alaistair Whyte as operations manager based at the company's manufacturing centre in Dresden, bringing the total number of employees in Dresden to 34.

ECOPTIKIridian Spectral TechnologiesLASEROPTIK GmbHABTechBerkeley Nucleonics CorporationCeNing Optics Co LtdSPECTROGON AB
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