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NanoOpto signs deal with Enplas for consumer optics

Posted: 14 Jul 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:nanoopto? nanotechnology? semiconductor? telecommunication? electronics?

NanoOpto Corp., which uses nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing techniques to develop "subwavelength elements" for the telecommunications industry, has signed its first manufacturing and licensing deal with a consumer electronics company.

The agreement pairs NanoOpto with Enplas Corp., which manufactures lens subassemblies and optical pick-ups for digital projectors, DVD drives, and mobile-phone cameras. Enplas will begin integrating NanoOpto technology in a line of optical pick-ups for CD and DVD players, but plans to consider the technology for potential integration in a wide range of products.

Hubert Kostal, NanoOpto's VP of marketing and sales, said the company has been exploring applications in a range of non-communication areas, including avionics and consumer products. The Enplas deal, Kostal said, is "the first of many to come to fruition."

NanoOpto also will be able to enlist Enplas as a second manufacturing source for its own products, though the company has no intention to limit or close its U.S. prototyping and low-volume manufacturing facility. Enplas will use its manufacturing lines primarily for its own licensed products, Kostal said, though NanoOpto will reap the benefits of having a high-volume partner.

Traditionally, Kostal said, telecom component manufacturers have been wary of the commodity-oriented consumer market. In a down market, however, telecom carriers and OEMs alike are less interested in component technology that provide a 10 percent cost savings. Instead, they expect new technologies to provide advantages measured in orders of magnitude.

By contrast, Kostal said, "a 1 to 2 percent difference in manufacturing costs can be decisive when margins are so thin. So the commodity nature of the business can help drive interest in integrating new technologies."

- Loring Wirbel

EE Times

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