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Zygo pounces for ASML Optics acquisition

28 Oct 2010

Optical metrology and precision optics vendor Zygo set to purchase ASML's highly regarded Richmond, California, operation for up to $10M.

Lithography giant ASML has agreed to sell its “extreme” precision optics facility in Richmond, California, to Zygo Corporation. The deal will enable Zygo to significantly expand its optical manufacturing capability, adding high-precision optical machining, polishing and diamond turning to its portfolio.

Expected to close by mid-November, the sale is valued at between $7 million and $10 million. Zygo says that it intends to hire “key management and employees of ASML Optics Richmond” and immediately address applications in semiconductor, defense and life sciences markets.

“The Richmond facility has a long history of producing many of the world’s most advanced optical components, and represents a strategic technology investment for Zygo,” said John Stack, the president of Zygo’s optical systems division, which has manufacturing locations in Middlefield, CT, Tucson, AZ, and Costa Mesa, CA.

The addition of the cutting-edge facility and optical expertise in Richmond will provide synergy with Zygo’s existing optical fabrication technology, added Stack. Zygo also sells large-aperture laser interferometry systems that are used to make precision measurements of very large optical components, and recently announced major orders for such systems from Chinese customers. The interferometers are able to measure optics of up to 0.8 meters in diameter.

Wide spectrum
ASML Optics’ products cover a wide spectrum, ranging from the infrared to the extreme ultraviolet. Examples include precision-made flat windows and mirrors, spherical and aspherical lenses, off-axis parabolic mirrors and high-energy laser optics.

Particular expertise includes spherical and aspheric optics measuring up to 0.8 meters, and flat optics of up to 0.4 meters in diameter. Fabrication materials include fused silica, used in very-high-power applications, the widely-transmitting calcium fluoride, which features in the advanced lithography systems produced by parent company ASML, as well as germanium and silicon.

Expertise at the Richmond site extends to high-end optical design services, while grinding and polishing operations include advanced diamond-point turning. The facility's clean room includes a dedicated class 100 area for assembling opto-mechanical systems destined for contamination-sensitive applications.

Chris Koliopoulos, Zygo’s president and CEO, said of the deal: "This acquisition will further solidify Zygo Corporation as a world leader in extreme precision optical fabrication, where advanced manufacturing methods are combined with state-of-the-art optical metrology and surface testing. Over the past decades, the Richmond group has earned the highest respect in the optics industry, deservedly so. We look forward to this new addition to the Zygo family."

Zygo is expected to reveal more about the acqusition and its implications for the company during its forthcoming third-quarter conference call scheduled for November 4.

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