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Business briefs

18 Aug 2008

Featuring news from Jenoptik, Zygo, Boeing, Applied Energetics, OSRAM and more.

• The Lasers and Optical Systems segment of Jenoptik performed well in the first half of 2008, despite continuing weakness in the global semiconductor equipment industry. The segment posted sales of €107 million, compared with €110 million in the equivalent half-year of 2007, due mainly to the loss of sales from discontinued businesses. Sales for the whole Jenoptik group rose by just over 4% to €264 million, driven largely by the company's Defence and Civil Systems segment which showed stronger growth than had been forecast. The formation of a joint venture in India in which Jenoptik has taken the role of lead investor was singled out by the company as an important milestone in the internationalization of the Industrial Metrology division, the segment which has become Jenoptik's trailblazer in such international arrangements.

The Sensor Systems business unit of Jenoptik's Defence and Civil Systems division has reached an agreement with Dresden-based InfraTec Infrarotsensorik und Messtechnik for the manufacture and supply of Jenoptik thermal imaging camera technology. This expansion of the existing cooperation between the companies will enable Jenoptik to strengthen the position of its thermal imaging cameras in the international market by adding civil and military-related, national and international clients. InfraTec is the exclusive Jenoptik distribution partner for thermal imaging and IR cameras worldwide, with the exception of the North American and Japanese market and military applications.

Jenoptik has sold what it claims to be the first R&D laser systems to various European and Asian manufacturers of thin-film solar cells. The systems will be used for the further development of thin-film cells on glass substrates or flexible base materials, and allow manufacturers to test new production processes and optimize existing production lines without halting production. No further details were released.

Zygo reported sales of $48.5 million for Q4 2008, up from $46.5 million for the equivalent quarter of 2007. Earnings dropped from $3.8 million to $1.1 million, as a result of higher operating expenses and marketing costs for the company's semiconductor initiatives. The Optics Division accounted for 21% of orders received during the quarter. The company's strategic shift from OEM products and optical components to higher revenue in-line production metrology tools and electro-optical assemblies continued during the year, but was negatively affected by the reduction in capital spending in the semiconductor manufacturing and display markets.

Boeing has completed the first ground test of the entire weapon system integrated aboard the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, demonstrating the functionality of the system and achieving a key milestone in the ATL Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration programme. The ATL aircraft, a C-130H, fired its high-energy chemical laser through the beam control system, which acquired a ground target and directed the laser through ATL's battle management technology. After conducting additional tests on the ground and in the air, the program will demonstrate ATL's military utility by firing the laser in-flight at ground targets later this year.

• Procurement of contracts for its core defence programs helped Applied Energetics post revenues of $5.7 million for the second quarter of 2008, compared with $3.1 million for the same period last year. A net loss of $1.1 million represented an improvement compared with the $2.5 million deficit in Q2 2007, attributed by the company to progress in moving its guided energy and high-performance laser technologies towards real-world use.

Automation Engineering Incorporated (AEi), a global supplier of high-precision automation systems, will be partnering with 3-EDGE of Munich, Germany, for European sales and service support of AEi's automation systems for precision optoelectronics manufacturing. 3-EDGE will supply AEi's CMAT stations for the alignment, assembly and test of camera modules as well as AEi's PMAT stations for photonics device manufacturing across Europe, with the exception of the UK.

• An agreement between Olympus and Digital Surf will allow Olympus to supply users of its LEXT OLS3100 confocal laser scanning microscope with 3D surface texture and micro-geometry analysis software based upon Digital Surf's Mountains technology. The Mountains surface texture software analyses images generated by the LEXT and provides users with the analytical functions needed to prepare detailed surface metrology reports.

LightWorks Optics has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract for hardware related to the Infrared Search and Tracker System (IRST) from Lockheed Martin. Contract value and quantities were not disclosed. The award represents a continuation of the relationship between Lockheed Martin and LightWorks in providing advanced optical subsystems.

People

• Elke Eckstein has been appointed chief operating officer of OSRAM Opto Semiconductors. She replaces Jörg Thäle, who has moved to the parent company OSRAM where he is now CEO of the low pressure discharge business unit. Eckstein brings more than 25 years experience in the semiconductor sector, and was most recently a vice president at AMD.

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