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Business briefs

02 May 2008

Featuring news from CVI Technical Optics, Northrop Grumman, PerkinElmer, Kopin, SPI Lasers, Sofradir and more.

• CVI Technical Optics, a UK-based part of the CVI Melles Griot group, has been awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise 2008 in the International Trade category. The award is in recognition of the company having tripled exports of its high-energy laser optics and etalons over three years, and is also said by the company to indicate a continuing robust manufacturing presence of the UK's Isle of Man.

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $46 million contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the Optical RF Communications Adjunct (ORCA) project, an all-weather, high-connectivity, jam-resistant, high-bandwidth network. ORCA will address the military's increasing requirements for transmitting and receiving voice, image, video and other critical data simultaneously among dismounted and manoeuvring forces, airborne assets, and upper command echelons. Under the one-year contract, the company will develop and demonstrate a prototype tactical network that uses both free-space optical and radio-frequency links.

PerkinElmer Optoelectronics has acquired VaConics, a US developer of high-intensity xenon arc lamps. The deal is said to add technology, design expertise and product depth to PerkinElmer's medical lighting and endoscopy light source markets.

Kopin, a provider of heterojunction bipolar transistor wafers for cellular phones and wireless local area networks, has been awarded a $600,000 solar cell development contract from NASA. The contract is the second phase of a small business technology transfer programme to develop indium nitride (InN)-based quantum dot solar cell technology, and produce high-efficiency solar cells that are resistant to extreme conditions. Kopin's partners on the project include groups at Virginia Tech and Magnolia Optical Technologies.

• Three contracts worth a total of $3 million have been won by SPI Lasers. Two of the contracts are in general marking and consumer electronics, while the third sees the company enter a new vertical market in jewellery manufacture. The launch of the company's G3 fibre laser platform was said to be a significant factor in an order from a returning customer and indicate the strength of SPI's technology platform.

Sofradir, a French developer of infrared detectors, announced that GE will become a minority shareholder in Ulis, a subsidiary of Sofradir and producer of uncooled infrared detectors for commercial applications. GE obtains a 15% ownership and replaces minority shareholder CEA Valorisation, an equity investor for the French Atomic Energy Agency whose exit was in accordance with existing shareholder agreements. Financial details were not disclosed. Sofradir remains the principal shareholder with 85%.

Fujitsu Limited and its subsidiary Fujitsu Access plan to merge and reorganize their photonic systems businesses, in order to strengthen their development, manufacturing and sales operations for the Japanese market. The move is a response to increasing competition and shortening product development cycles, according to a statement. The Japan-based sales divisions of the two organizations will be merged into one Fujitsu sales division for the Japanese market. The Japanese product development divisions and all the companies' photonics manufacturing divisions will be merged and reorganized. Fujitsu Limited will continue to develop products for markets outside Japan. Details on the merger and reorganization will be announced in May 2008.

People

• Bob Twomey has been appointed vice president of worldwide sales by Luxtera. Twomey joins from Qualcomm and has 22 years of experience in the communications semiconductor industry. The company has also named Van Holland as vice president of finance and chief financial officer. Both appointments indicate the company's intention to further expand its silicon CMOS photonics business, according to a statement.

CEMMNT, the Centre of Excellence in Metrology for Micro and Nano Technologies based in Loughborough, UK, has appointed Paul Newbatt as business development director. Newbatt has more than 20 years technical sales management experience, which is said to have brought him in to contact with many of CEMMNT's partners and target customers.

• Richard Elias has been named senior vice president for optical and specialty materials by PPG Industries. Already vice president for optical products, Elias will have complete responsibility for the optical and specialty materials segment, adding oversight of PPG's silicas business to his current responsibilities.

• Robert Hilbert has been elected chairman of the board of directors for Optical Research Associates, succeeding the company's founder Thomas Harris. Hilbert has been with ORA for 32 years, and is currently the company's president and chief executive officer.

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