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Business briefs

21 Jul 2008

Featuring news from Luz II, Northrop Grumman, Picarro, Bookham, PerkinElmer and more.

Luz II, the Jerusalem-based solar energy technology company owned by US solar developer BrightSource Energy, has initiated the first phase of its Solar Energy Development Center in Israel's Negev region. The site features more than 1600 heliostats which track the sun and reflect light onto a 60 m tower. Last month, the company announced it had secured $115 million from investors including Google and BP Alternative Energy, raising its total invested capital to $160 million. Luz II recently signed an agreement with California-based Pacific Gas and Electric Company for the construction of solar power plants with a total capacity of 900 MW over the next 25 years, said to be the largest agreement of its kind ever signed in the solar industry.

• Global consumption of LEDs in the medical science and test/measurement sectors reached $13.96 million in 2007, and is predicted to reach $34.18 million in 2012. The US represented nearly 52% of worldwide demand in 2007, and its use of LEDs in the applications being studied is predicted to grow from $7.2 million to $17.7 million during the period of study. By 2012 Europen demand is expected to reach $9 million, while Asian consumption will increase to $8 million. LEDs in Test/Measurement & Medical Science Applications is available from ElectroniCast Consultants.

• Arizona State University has established a Solar Power Laboratory to advance solar energy research, education and technology. The intention is to further build up the University's solar energy research and develop collaborations with the energy industry to boost the state's economy, according to a statement. The laboratory will be a collaboration between the university's Global Institute of Sustainability and Ira A Fulton School of Engineering. Solar power groups such as the university's Advanced Photovoltaics Center and Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory will be affiliated with the new lab under the Global Institute of Sustainability.

• As part of the UK's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme, Northrop Grumman will supply its laser-based Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures Systems (LAIRCM) to Thales UK. Thales is a member of the AirTanker consortium, which aims to provide a fleet of 14 new tanker aircraft based on the Airbus A330-200 to come into service from 2011. The LAIRCM system functions by automatically detecting a missile launch and taking appropriate countermeasures, and is claimed to be the only such aircraft protection system currently in production.

Pacer International, a UK supplier of lasers, sensors and other optical components, will distribute PyroPhotonics Lasers' range of pulsed fibre lasers in the UK and Ireland. The PyroFlex 2 and PyroFlex 25 offer the user complete control of the pulse parameters, including the pulse width, pulse energy, pulse shape and repetition rate, according to PyroPhotonics.

Mikrop, a Swiss supplier of miniature optical components including singlets, achromats, and objective lenses, has opened a new Optics Development department to be led by Wolfgang Braxmaier. The new department allows the company to offer a complete range of solutions from development through manufacture to the assembly of miniaturized opto-mechanical component groups, according to a statement.

• The R&D 100 Award, presented by R&D Magazine, has been given to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Asylum Research for the development of band excitation (BE), a new technique in scanning probe microscopy. This method is claimed to provide an alternative to lock-in based detection methods, and allow quantitative and artefact-free dissipation imaging. BE technology has been licensed to Asylum Research from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Picarro has appointed the Sanyo Trading Company as a distributor for its instruments in Japan. The Scientific Instruments Business Group of Sanyo Trading will sell and service the entire range of Picarro gas and isotope analyzers for environmental applications, including greenhouse gas detection and process control applications. The companies believe that Picarro's gas analyzers based on wavelength-scanned cavity ring down spectroscopy can satisfy a substantial demand for trace gas analysis in Japan that Sanyo Trading has previously not been able to adequately satisfy, according to a statement.

• LED lighting supplier Oxley Developments will supply a suite of LED external navigation and anti-collision lights for the BAE Systems HERTI unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The lights are said to utilise high-intensity LED technology pioneered by Oxley to meet FAR/JAR 23 lighting requirements in significantly smaller packages than previously available. The fully autonomous HERTI vehicle provides surveillance and reconnaissance capability, and the LED lights have been developed to withstand the potentially harsh environments in which the vehicle will be deployed.

People

Bookham has appointed Jerry Turin as chief financial officer, replacing Steve Abely who has left to join a solar technology company. Turin was previously Bookham's vice president of finance.

• Alan Fletcher has joined PerkinElmer as vice president of business development for the company's life and analytical sciences business. He will be responsible for growing the bio-discovery business through the development of strategic partnerships and alliances in the life science research area, and the introduction of new technologies for GPCR, kinase and biomarker drug target classes.

• Vincent Rowley of Pleora Technologies has replaced Francois Gobeil as vice chairman of the GigE Vision committee, which oversees development of the GigE Vision camera interface protocol. The Automated Imaging Association, the global trade group that oversees the ongoing development and administration of the standard, recently held a PlugFest and GigE Vision committee meeting during The Vision Show in Boston, Massachusetts, at which several new products using the GigE Vision interface were displayed.

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