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Business briefs

09 Jun 2008

Featuring news from the UK Photonics Cluster, the Hong Kong Optical Engineering Society, QPC Lasers, GSI, eSolar and more.

• The UK Photonics Cluster has launched the Collaborative Partner Programme, an initiative to support the development and success of research and development companies. The programme has three main themes: to put R&D companies in touch with expert routes to financial support; to use its network to link members with the correct support skills they need; and to make technical facilities available, such as its own laboratories at the Aston Science Park in Birmingham. The scheme's backers include PERA, QinetiQ and the National Physical Laboratory. The programme was described as a landmark development for the UK's "hard-pressed yet highly ingenious and innovative photonics R&D community" in a statement from the Cluster.

• The Hong Kong Optical Engineering Society, formerly the Hong Kong Chapter of SPIE, has been launched as a new, independent professional society. One focus of the society will be optics promotion in schools, establishing links between industry and education, and presenting optics seminars and training courses to foster professional development in optics. Chi-Man Fok will serve as chairman of the society's board. The new society has strong ties to SPIE, as many of its founders were leaders in the SPIE Hong Kong regional chapter. SPIE has recently been transitioning its regional chapter program, enabling the networks established by the regional chapters to develop more effective, locally based organizations while maintaining close connections with SPIE. See coverage of the new Photonics Society of Poland in last week's Business Briefs.

QPC Lasers, a developer of high-brightness, high-power semiconductor lasers, has been awarded a $750,000 contract to develop and deliver BrightLase high-power fibre laser pump engines to a US defence customer for airborne directed energy weapons applications. This award is a follow-on contract to previously announced contracts worth a total of $2.5 million since 2007. The agreement aims to further increase power levels in prototype laser systems, utilizing QPC's proprietary HPSEL chip technology to allow hundreds of high-brightness surface emitting lasers to be placed on a single chip.

Idemitsu Kosan and Sony have announced the achievement of 28.5% internal quantum efficiency (IQE) in deep blue fluorescent OLED devices, claimed to be the highest level for this technology. Previous fluorescent OLED devices were limited to a maximum 25% IQE, but a joint development agreement between the companies has implemented new carrier transport materials and optimized device structures to reach the new efficiency. This technology could significantly reduce the driving current of blue OLEDs, the most energy-intensive of the three primary RGB colours, and reduce the power consumption of OLED panels according to the two companies.

GSI Group is consolidating the operations of its three Massachusetts facilities into newly renovated corporate offices in Bedford, MA. The move to a single facility will enable the company to leverage its infrastructure for maximum efficiency while enhancing competitiveness, according to a statement. The transition will occur in three phases to minimize any customer impact. Semiconductor systems design and manufacturing capabilities will be the first to move, followed by the Group's General Scanning Optical Scanning Products and General Scanning Thermal Printers. Last to move will be the MicroE Systems encoder design and manufacturing group.

• Solar thermal power plants producing 245 MW of electricity will be built by eSolar under an agreement with the Southern California Edison power company. The plants will be built in the Antelope Valley of Southern California and begin operating in 2011. eSolar produces utility-scale concentrating solar power systems using a modular design that is claimed to reduce costs. California's renewable portfolio standard mandates that electricity utilities generate 20% of their electricity by 2010 and 33% by 2012.

• The Photonic Component Group, a division of Power Technology, will now serve as the sole US distributor of laser components from nanoplus, including quantum cascade, distributed feedback, superluminescence and Fabry Perot laser diodes. The Photonic Component Group already serves as a distributor for Sanyo, eagleyard Photonics, Snake Creek Lasers and others.

MAZeT, a service provider for customized colour-sensor modules, has been named as a certified partner in the Luxeon Lighting Network. Over 70 companies are members of the Network, which aims to establish standards of competence, service and support for both luminaire manufacturers and the providers of the required optics, thermal management, power and integration solutions.

Cree and Toyoda Gosei have entered into an agreement providing the companies with access to each other's patented LED chip and packaged LED technology, including white LED technology. Both companies hold substantial optoelectronic patent portfolios, and the new agreement will make it easier for each to develop and manufacture LED products without concern for the other's patents, according to a joint statement. The agreement was also said to highlight the importance of intellectual property in the LED marketplace. Further terms were not disclosed.

Aixtron has received an order from the Fraunhofer Institut für Solare Energiesysteme for a 300 mm close coupled showerhead CRIUS epitaxy reactor, to be used for development of GaAs-based multi-junction solar cells on silicon. The growth of III/V compound semiconductors on commercially available silicon wafers has become an area of major interest for higher performance terrestrial solar cells, combining high-performance materials with the large areas and better economics of silicon wafers.


• Geoff Archenhold has been seconded as an Industrial Advisor to the UK's Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, (BERR), to help drive public procurement of energy-efficient lighting and to promote the Government's sustainability objectives. Archenhold is currently a member of the Photonics Strategy Group, a think tank arising from the UK Photonics Strategy. His role will be to develop Forward Commitment Procurement models across central, regional and local government departments to meet the Government's commitment to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and to assist the UK solid-state lighting supply chain to be ready for future public procurement opportunities.

• Jayne Somes-Schloesser has joined the Optical Society of America (OSA) as deputy executive director and chief operating officer. In this position, she will be responsible for an annual budget of $30 million and will oversee society operations, including meetings, finance, legal, customer service, human resources, information technology and building administration. Somes-Schloesser has more than 20 years of business management experience, including human resources management, budgeting, information systems, meeting planning and facilities management.

• David Payne, pioneering researcher in photonics and director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, UK, has been named the 2008 Marconi Fellow and Prize-winner for his work in the field of fibre optoelectronics and fibre telecommunications. The Marconi Prize annually recognizes a living scientist for contributions to communications and information technology. Payne's best-known invention is the erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA), which has become the basis of fibre telecommunications systems and propelled the growth of the Internet.

• Stephen Abbey has been named managing director of StockerYale's speciality optical fibre (SOF) business unit. The appointment reflects the company's support for SOF initiatives for key medical, industrial and defence markets, according to a statement. Abbey was previously principal of a management consulting firm, but also spent ten years at JDS Uniphase.

Sofradir, a developer of cooled infrared (IR) detectors for military, space and commercial applications, has appointed Jean-François Delepau as the new managing director of its ULIS subsidiary, replacing Jean-Pierre Chatard. ULIS specializes in uncooled IR detectors based on amorphous silicon technology. Delepau's role will be to reinforce ULIS' capacity to produce mass volume infrared imaging products, according to the company.

Hyperion OpticsIridian Spectral TechnologiesCeNing Optics Co LtdUniverse Kogaku America Inc.Optikos Corporation LASEROPTIK GmbHECOPTIK
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