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11 April 2014

Michigan-based Thorlabs Ultrafast Optoelectronics business unit formed to enter high-speed opto

In late March, vertically integrated photonics product maker Thorlabs Inc of Newton, NJ, USA announced a greenfield initiative to start the new business unit Thorlabs Ultrafast Optoelectronics (Thorlabs-UFO).

The team will focus on addressing the need for high-speed optoelectronic products with bandwidths as high as 100GHz for deployment in applications outside the traditional telecoms market. The new products will range from basic components to instrumentation consistent with Thorlabs’ expanding catalog of photonic tools. Dedicated to establishing R&D facilities distributed geographically, the firm made the decision to locate the new venture in the heart of Michigan’s photonics community in Ann Arbor.

Thorlabs-UFO aims to design, develop and manufacture photonics and optoelectronics products and systems, guided by key insights from customers in the marketplace. The team will be able to leverage the technical expertise that already exists within the organization’s optomechanical, semiconductor, ultrafast laser and imaging system product development areas. The firm reckons that, together, this combined knowledge and feedback loop will contribute to a high-speed product line aimed at meeting the specific needs of the market, expanding Thorlabs’ catalog offering and supporting R&D initiatives within other Thorlabs’ business units.

“Our initial efforts will be in the area of ultrafast optoelectronic components such as lasers, modulators, and subsystems,” says Janis Valdmanis, general manager of the Michigan operation. “Ultimately, our research and development efforts here at Thorlabs Ultrafast Optoelectronics will also serve to complement and advance Thorlabs’ other initiatives in ultrafast and high-power lasers, optical & fiber optic instrumentation, and life science products,” he adds.

“There is a long tradition of successful photonics-related research activity going on right here at the University of Michigan and other Michigan-based industrial and educational institutions,” notes Valdmanis. “We hope to promote a strong interaction with that research community and attract strong talent from those channels in the coming years, contributing to Michigan’s overall job growth.”

Michigan is also home to the state-sponsored photonics cluster Mi-Light (launched in April 2013), consisting of 30 companies and educational institutions. This cohesive effort to enhance the photonics industry in Michigan in conjunction with national photonics initiatives provides a backdrop for Thorlabs’ new venture.

Tags: photonics

Visit: www.thorlabs.com

Visit: www.mi-light.org

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