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15 Sep 2008

Featuring news from Sony NEC Optiarc, Avantes, Omnisens, Gerber Scientific, Rofin-Sinar and more.

Sony and NEC Corporation have agreed to transfer NEC's 45% share in the Sony NEC Optiarc joint venture to Sony. The joint venture was formed in 2006 when the companies combined their optical disc drive businesses, and will now become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sony group. NEC will continue to contribute to the advancement of Sony NEC Optiarc optical disc drive products through the LSI development being carried out at NEC Electronics Corporation.

Avantes Holding, The Netherlands, has sold 51% of its shares to m-u-t, Germany, a developer of spectroscopy solutions. The acquisition is seen as a strategic alliance by both companies, who predict synergy in engineering and worldwide sales. Distribution of Avantes spectrometers will continue through the existing channels and under the Avantes trade name.

Omnisens, Switzerland, a developer of long-distance distributed fibre-optic sensing technology, has raised CHF6 million ($5.3 million) from Vinci Capital. The funding will be used to intensify the sales and marketing efforts in the oil and gas industry, where opportunities for fibre-optic sensors are said by the company to be growing rapidly.

Bausch & Lomb and 20/10 Perfect Vision, a developer of femtosecond laser systems for ophthalmic surgery, will form a joint-venture focused on the laser vision correction industry. The new company will combine the refractive eye surgery assets of both businesses, delivering 20/10 Perfect Vision's solutions for the correction of presbyopia in conjunction with Bausch & Lomb's development expertise and worldwide commercial reach. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2008. Financial terms will not be disclosed.

Gerber Scientific will purchase Virtek Vision International, a provider of high-value industrial laser solutions. The agreement follows the unsuccessful pursuit of Virtek by StockerYale, which finally ended last month.

Rofin-Sinar will acquire 80% of Nanjing Eastern Laser Company (NELC), China. Further terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed. NELC has maintained a close cooperation with Rofin-Sinar since 1993, and has manufactured CO2 lasers using Rofin's technology since 2004. The company will continue to operate as a stand-alone company and market its products through its own sales network to its primarily Chinese customer base.

• Developers of the US Airborne Laser (ABL) missile defence programme, including prime contractor Boeing, Northrop Grumman and others, have achieved the first firing of the system's high-energy chemical laser onboard the ABL aircraft during ground trials. Termed 'first light', it will now be followed by additional ground tests, building toward lethal levels of duration and power. An airborne intercept test against a ballistic missile is scheduled for 2009.

AOptix Technologies will test and evaluate a long distance combined optical and RF link system, under a contract with the US Air Force. The AOptix terminals utilize a bi-directional, adaptive optics method of beam control to compensate for real-time atmospheric turbulence, sending video, voice and data over a low power free-space optical laser link.

Breault Research Organization (BRO) has appointed Cranes Software International, India, as its representative for sales of ASAP optical software in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bhutan. Cranes Software is an established distributor of scientific software packages sharing a common customer base with BRO's optical software products. The deal will expand Cranes' portfolio in areas such as automotive lighting, bio-optics, and imaging system design, according to a joint statement.

Torr Scientific has been appointed as the European agent for optical and thermal CVD diamond processed at the Hebei Institute of Laser, China. CVD diamond substrates in various shapes are available for use in thermal mounts and laser windows, as well as sealed into vacuum viewport assemblies for high vacuum applications.

• Surface profiling systems and thickness measurement sensors from Precitec Optronik will be available from Armstrong Optical, UK, following a distribution deal between the companies. The systems are available as either OEM units or as stand-alone 3D measuring instruments for off-line topographic and measurement studies.


Marlow Industries, a subsidiary of II-VI, has made three additions to its global sales force. Xiaoming Li has been named appointed regional manager of Marlow Asia and assumes responsibility for the company's sales operations in that region. Stephan Ballreich has been appointed managing director of Marlow Europe, responsible for sales operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Rob Brosius, becomes regional manager of Marlow Americas and assumes responsibility for Marlow's sales and customer service operations in North, Central and South America.

• Barbara Nelson has been appointed chief executive officer of Element Labs, a US developer of LED video technology. Nelson brings over 25 years experience in senior management positions, most recently as CEO and chairman at NeoScale Systems.

• Jozef Straus will chair the newly formed advisory board of GigOptix. Strauss co-founded JDS Fitel in 1981 and was instrumental in its merger with Uniphase Corporation in 1999 to create JDS Uniphase Corporation (JDSU).

• James Kowske has been named president of Laser Cladding Services, and will be responsible for growing the company's laser technology for protective coatings in the energy sector as well as various process industries. Kowske will continue in his role as vice president of Gremada Industries, the parent company of Laser Cladding Services.

DIAMOND SAJenLab GmbHTeledyne LumeneraOmicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbHIDS Imaging Development SystemsKentek CorporationHyperion Optics
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