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Business briefs

30 Jun 2008

Featuring news from Ophir-Spiricon, OSRAM, JPSA, FLIR, Domino Printing Sciences, SPIE and more.

Ophir-Spiricon, a supplier of precision laser measurement equipment, has launched its new web site where visitors can now access technical resources for power/energy measurement, laser beam profiling, and spectrum analysis. Other resources include technical white papers, tutorials, frequently asked questions, and application notes. The site also includes a version of the company's catalogue of products for laser measurement applications, and an interactive Head Finder Application.

• A series of reports on light engines and the pico-projector markets published jointly by Yole Développement and Chipworks concludes that Texas Instruments (TI) dominates the market for display devices based on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), with sales being driven by the projector market. Devices for rear projection TVs are struggling against LCD and plasma panel technologies, although the company is working hard to drive the technology towards lower costs and more compact packaging. TI's DLP technology has the potential to create a whole new market space for pico-projectors, while mixing MEMS technology with solid-state lighting (LEDs, HBLEDs, and/or laser diodes) could achieve low-cost and compact light engines for a range of new applications.

• The development of cost-effective processes for volume production of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) is the focus of the CombOLED project, part of a European Union initiative in the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) being coordinated by OSRAM. It aims to create the necessary conditions for introducing OLEDs into lighting applications, including methods for cost-effective printing of new component architectures for large-format transparent light sources.

Morgan Technical Ceramics (MTC) has been selected by Oerlikon Solar to supply the high-purity ceramic bars used for lifting and stacking of glass panels in its thin-film deposition photovoltaic (PV) machine. MTC's high-grade alumina is said to be an ideal choice for the thin-film PV deposition process, and the company claims that it can achieve flatness of less than 0.01 mm and parallelism of less than 0.05 mm, with a mirror polish finish. Oerlikon Solar predicts that sales of its solar modules will more than double in 2008 to CHF700 million ($689 million).

JP Sercel Associates (JPSA) has begun delivery of laser workstations for processing solar thin-film photovoltaic (PV) products, an application claimed to be well suited to the company's laser scribing technology. JPSA's PV-5000 is a laser workstation dedicated to thin-film PV scribing. The company will sell the workstations to PV product manufacturers globally, with the first system deliveries scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.

FLIR Systems has received a $6.7 million order from the Colombian Ministry of Defence for its Star SAFIRE HD stabilized, multisensor surveillance systems. The units will be installed on fixed-wing surveillance platforms for use in counter-narcotic and counter-terror missions within the Republic of Colombia. Since 2001, FLIR has delivered more than 70 airborne sensor systems to the Colombian Ministry of Defence while maintaining a service and completion centre in Bogota.

The company also announced a $23.1 million order from the US Coast Guard for the electro-optical sensor system (ESS) program. The units delivered under this order, variants of FLIR's TALON stabilized multisensor system, will be installed on HH-60 and HH-65 helicopters to enhance the Coast Guard's airborne use of force, interdiction, and search and rescue missions.

Domino Printing Sciences, a UK supplier of coding, marking and traceability solutions, has acquired solid-state laser marking specialist Photon Energy and its subsidiary NWL Lasertechnologie for €4 million ($6.3 million). Based in Ottensoos, Germany, both companies are active in the field of Nd:YAG, vanadate and fibre lasers used for marking plastic and metal parts and in surface decoration applications. The acquisition was said by Domino to expand the company's reach into the automotive, aircraft, electronic, tool and medical sectors, and to be a logical extension of its existing CO2 laser business which principally serves the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and tobacco markets. Hans Amler will continue to serve as general manager of Photon Energy and its subsidiary.

• Construction of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) camera has reached a milestone, with the shipping of its five unique lenses from the US to France to be shaped and polished to a smoothness level of one millionth of a centimetre. The lenses will then be sent to the Optical Science Laboratory at UCL in London for assembly into the camera and from there to the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, where observations will start in 2011 and will continue until 2016. The DES camera will map 300 million galaxies using the observatory's Blanco 4 m telescope.

• Andrew Brown has joined SPIE as senior director for global business development. He succeeds Janice Gaines Walker, who is retiring in July after 24 years with the Society. Brown is a long-time member of SPIE and other photonics organizations, and has held positions at Aculight, Falcon Medical and STI Optronics.

• Francois Blateyron, R&D director at Digital Surf, has received a 2008 Normalization Trophy from the UNM, the French union for normalization in the domain of mechanical engineering, for his work on surface metrology on French and ISO standards committees. Blateyron has been developing surface metrology solutions at Digital Surf since 1992, and became a member of the UNM committee responsible for defining surface metrology standards in France in 1999.

• Thomas Hellerer has been named by Toptica as sales manager for FemtoFiber scientific laser systems by Toptica. Hellerer has more than 10 years experience in ultrafast laser physics and its applications to life sciences.

Picarro has named two senior executives to further develop its business in North Asia and Latin America. Helio Ventura has been named senior director of business development for Latin America. Ventura was previously a senior executive of Varian in the region, and will be based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Nobu Fukatsu has been appointed senior director of business development for North Asia, based in Tokyo, Japan. He was most recently a director of sales and business development at Decru. Both appointments address the international demand for Picarro's trace gas analysers and will help to develop new markets in their territories, according to Picarro.

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