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Business briefs

20 Oct 2008

Featuring news from Micronic, Samsung, Northrop Grumman, Signet Solar, Boeing and more.

• Third-quarter results from Micronic, a Swedish developer of laser pattern generators for the production of photomasks, reflected the difficult trading conditions in the semiconductor sector. Net sales amounted to SEK110 million ($14.8 million), bringing the figure for the first nine months of the fiscal year to SEK235 million. This was a decline from the SEK298 million for the equivalent nine months of the previous year, although the company's operating loss improved to SEK162 million from SEK248 million for the same period. The company has revised its future projections to account for weaker market conditions in the display industry, and also indicated that its view of the semiconductor pattern generator market was now conservative.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest maker of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, announced that it was adjusting production levels amid sluggish demand for TV and monitor screens. Samsung's comment comes as smaller LCD makers, including local Korean rival LG Display and Taiwan's AU Optronics, have cut output in recent months to fight falling screen prices and control supply.

Northrop Grumman has been chosen to develop single-frequency fibre amplifiers for the new Revolution in Fiber Lasers (RIFL) programme by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The RIFL programme is intended to develop the building blocks needed to combine laser beams that can be scaled to a weapons-class power level while maintaining good beam quality. The company has received a $4.5 million, 15-month contract for Phase I, with an option for a $4.6 million, 18-month Phase II contract. Key goals of the DARPA contract are the demonstration of single-frequency fibre amplifiers at 1 kW in the first phase and 3 kW at the end of the second phase.

Signet Solar, a US manufacturer of thin-film silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, has started volume production at its manufacturing facility in Mochau, Germany, after receiving final certification and approval from the relevant regulators. The company's technology and manufacturing platform are claimed to provide both gigawatt scale and cost-effective solutions, allowing grid parity for thin-film PV modules.

TeraView, a UK developer of terahertz solutions and technology for the pharmaceutical and defence industries, has been chosen by Goodrich to supply its proprietary continuous wave (cw) terahertz technology platform for Goodrich's chemical agent detection system. The Goodrich system is a high-resolution spectrometer to detect chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, and is being developed with support from the US Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, TeraView and Goodrich have entered into an agreement for TeraView to provide cw photomixers for the US security marketplace.

FLIR has received contracts totalling $14.8 million from US Customs and Border Protection. The contracts include $9 million for Star SAFIRE HD stabilized, multi-sensor systems, $3.9 million for Recon III long-range, hand-held imagers, and $1.9 million for SeaFLIR II stabilized, multi-sensor systems. The units delivered under these orders will be used for homeland security missions. Deliveries are expected to be completed within the next 12 months.

Boeing has been awarded a US Air Force contract valued at up to $30 million to continue testing the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL). The new Extended User Evaluation (EUE) contract from the Air Armament Center calls for Boeing to operate and maintain the ATL system, enabling the Air Force and other potential users to assess ATL's capabilities and determine how its laser-gunship technology can be integrated into the battlefield. The ATL consists of a C-130H aircraft equipped with a high-energy chemical laser and a beam control system.

• The BioSentry water monitoring system developed by JMAR Technologies has earned a Frost & Sullivan 2008 North American Biological Detection Product of the Year Award. The product is described by the company as being a disruptive technology for the water security industry, and uses laser-produced, multi-angle light scattering to detect signatures of microorganisms and determine if a water supply is contaminated.

Scientific Digital Imaging (SDI), a UK group providing products and services for scientific imaging, has acquired Artemis, a UK designer of high-quality cooled CCD cameras for astronomy and life sciences; and Perseu, a Portuguese manufacturing partner of Artemis. The addition of these companies to the SDI group will enhance the ability of other SDI subsidiaries to develop high-performance solutions for a range of complex scientific imaging applications, according to a company statement.


Powerlase, a manufacturer of nanosecond Q-switched, diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers, has appointed Paul Harrison as applications engineering manager. Harrison will be the overall manager of the applications group, which aims to expand the company's process development capabilities in existing and new market sectors.

Universe Kogaku America Inc.Iridian Spectral TechnologiesCeNing Optics Co LtdLaCroix Precision OpticsOptikos Corporation Berkeley Nucleonics CorporationHÜBNER Photonics
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