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Business briefs

15 Dec 2008

Featuring news from Bookham, Powerlase, Kopin, Microvision and more.

Bookham has commenced direct sales operations into the UK and Irish markets for its New Focus portfolio of photonic tools and solutions, which was previously available via distributors. The new sales channel will be managed by the local Bookham UK sales team, and is intended to ensure that UK customers benefit from optimum pricing and delivery times, and receive local, UK-based support. New Focus products include tunable and fixed wavelength lasers, position sensitive detectors and optomechanics for precision measurement.

Powerlase has opened an office in Japan, headed by Takanori Uematsu. The new facility is the third fully-owned international operation to be opened by Powerlase, following operations in the UK and Korea. Rapidly expanding markets for the company's nanosecond Q-switched, diode-pumped solid state lasers in the photovoltaic and active matrix OLED spaces are said to be behind the decision. In addition, a number of Powerlase's existing customers maintain head offices and manufacturing operations in Japan.

Kopin has been selected for award of a $600,000 NASA contract to produce nanostructured solar cells from indium gallium phosphide (InGaP) materials. The goal of this two-year project, a NASA Phase II Small Business Innovation Research programme, is to develop a solar cell design that is more efficient and less expensive than conventional multi-junction technology. In May, the company received a two-year, $600,000 award from NASA for the development of indium nitride (InN)-based solar cells.

Microvision, a US developer of ultra-miniature projection display and imaging products, has been awarded a $750,000 contract to perform initial engineering tasks that support development of a high-definition full-colour see-through eyewear display. The name of the customer was not released. The development effort includes demonstration of a design approach based upon Microvision's PicoP display engine technology, designed to combine a miniature display engine with clear eyewear optics to create a bright, full colour, see-through image while maintaining a transparent view of the surroundings.

Onefive, a developer of ultrafast and single-frequency lasers headquartered in Switzerland, will acquire Advanced Laser Diode Systems (ALS) in a cash transaction. ALS manufactures picosecond gain-switched laser diode systems and ultra-broadband high speed photo detectors for a wide range of industries. The company will continue to operate as a stand-alone company at its headquarters in Berlin's Adlershof technology park, and will market its products globally through its well established sales channels.

Kappa Opto-Electronics, a developer of CCD cameras and image processing solutions, is investing €1 million to expand its production facility at Klein Lengden, Germany, by 750 m2. Staff will move into the new annexe to Kappa's headquarters in the first quarter of 2009, at which time the company's Göttingen office will be closed and its software team will rejoin their colleagues in Klein Lengden.


• US President-elect Barack Obama had selected laser expert and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu as his energy secretary. Chu is director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and has sponsored research into biofuels and solar energy. He has been a strong advocate of controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

Corning has announced that Katherine Asbeck, senior vice president, finance, and the company's designated principal accounting officer, will retire at the end of March 2009. A successor principal accounting officer will be designated in advance of her retirement date.

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