Ocean Optics Spectrometers Head to Mars

ChemCam instrument launches on Curiosity Rover to study rock and soil composition of the red planet
Dunedin, FL (December 8, 2011) – Three Ocean Optics  instruments have begun their eight month journey to Mars. Customized HR2000 spectrometers are a part of the ChemCam unit on NASA’s Mars Science Lab rover, Curiosity, launched November 26, 2011 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Spectrometers from Ocean Optics will enable rapid sample analysis on Mars.

Spectrometers from Ocean Optics will enable rapid sample analysis on Mars.

Ocean Optics supplied three modular HR2000 high-resolution miniature fiber optic spectrometers that were configured for analysis of Martian rock and soil composition using Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). A laser mounted to the mast unit of the ChemCam instrument can fire at targets up to nine meters away, generating a series of laser pulses, the light from which is collected for the LIBS analysis.

The modular design of the HR2000, with selectable optical bench options such as detector, grating and entrance aperture (slit), made it an ideal choice for the mission. Each ChemCam spectrometer is configured to detect elemental signatures over a different wavelength of light: 240-336 nm, 380-470 nm, and 470-850 nm. The use of the three spectrometers simplifies the design and creates redundancy, as many elements under study have spectral lines in more than one of the spectral ranges covered by the three units.

Another reason the HR2000 was chosen for this mission was its reliability – a must for remote space operation where maintenance is impossible. Because the spectrometer contains no moving parts to fail, it can withstand the G forces associated with space travel. Additionally, the spectrometers were modified to handle extreme temperature ranges, radiation, shock and vibration.

The Curiosity Rover has been described by NASA as having the most advanced scientific instrumentation ever used to study the surface of Mars. With the analysis enabled by Ocean Optics’ equipment, sample analysis is exponentially faster. On prior missions, the time required to determine composition of a single sample was two to three days; ChemCam’s output is anticipated to be one dozen compositional measurements per day.

This is not the first space voyage for Ocean Optics equipment. In 2009, the company also collaborated on the ALICE spectrometer, which was instrumental in detecting the presence of water ice on the moon. Other NASA researchers have utilized Ocean Optics spectrometers for applications both on Earth and in space.

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Ocean Optics Expands OEM Team

Dr. David Creasey promoted to Director of OEM Business
Dunedin, FL (November 4, 2011) – To meet the growing global demand for its OEM engineering services, Ocean Optics (www.OceanOptics.com), the industry leader in miniature photonics has appointed David Creasey, Ph.D., to the newly created position Director of OEM Business. Creasey will lead the company’s dedicated OEM sales and engineering teams in providing expert integration support to original equipment manufacturers.

David Creasey, Ph.D., Director of OEM Business for Ocean Optics.

David Creasey, Ph.D., Director of OEM Business for Ocean Optics.

As Director of OEM Business, Creasey will lead the global OEM engineering and sales teams, located at Ocean Optics’ ISO 9001-2008 certified manufacturing facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific. Ocean Optics offers a variety of spectrometer models, custom photometric systems, light sources, sample holders, and optical fibers in thousands of configurations, supported by a team of engineers poised to address any mechanical, software, optical, or electronic integration need. Ocean OEM offers integrated system and sub-system manufacturing, inventory control of customer owned material, and lean manufacturing practices such as Kanban releases for JIT shipment.

Creasey joined Ocean Optics in May, 2010 as OEM Sales Manager for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and has achieved significant growth in these regions, working with customers from product inception to product release. Prior to joining Ocean Optics, he served as the OEM Sales Manager for Photonic Solutions in Edinburgh, Scotland, and earlier as a Development Engineer for BAE Systems in Southampton, England. He received his BSc. (Hons.) and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Leeds (United Kingdom).

To learn more about Ocean Optics OEM capabilities, visit www.oceanoem.com, or contact David Creasey at david.creasey@oceanoptics.eu or +44 7825959138.

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Ocean Optics Offers Next Day Shipping Guarantee

More than 500 spectrometers and accessories covered
Dunedin, FL (October 19, 2011) – Ocean Optics, inventor of the world’s first miniature spectrometer, has implemented a new Next Day Shipping Guarantee on more than 500 items in the Ocean Optics product line – from custom-configured spectrometers to sampling accessories. If the company fails to meet its commitment, customers are entitled to a 15% discount on the order or applicable discount toward a future order.

Next Day Shipping available from Ocean Optics available more than 500 products

Next Day Shipping available from Ocean Optics available more than 500 products

With its Next Day Shipping Guarantee, Ocean Optics is helping to improve the customer experience by reducing delivery turnaround times typical of the miniature spectrometer industry. The company already provides an industry-best three-year warranty on most spectrometers and accessories, as well as online shopping, live chat support and a dedicated Total Technical Services team. In addition, Ocean Optics has worldwide electro-optical design and manufacturing capabilities and is ISO 9001:2008 certified in the U.S., Europe and China.

The Ocean Optics Next Day Shipping commitment guarantees that all qualifying orders received before 4 p.m. (ET) Mondays through Fridays will be shipped by the next business day from Ocean Optics USA directly to qualifying customers anywhere in the world. International shipping rates and fees apply. The commitment does not apply to orders shipped from Ocean Optics regional offices outside the U.S. or to orders processed through Ocean Optics distributors or agents. Visit Ocean Optics’ website for full terms and conditions and shop today for equipment shipped tomorrow.

For additional information on terms and conditions of the Ocean Optics Next Day Shipping Guarantee, visit http://www.oceanoptics.com/nextday.asp.

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Ocean Optics Awards Phase I Blue Ocean Grants

Open innovation award program expanded amid exceptional response
Dunedin, Florida (October 17, 2011) – Ocean Optics has named the Phase I winners of its first Blue Ocean Grants and Challenges (www.blueoceangrants.com), an open innovation program seeking novel ideas and technologies with the ultimate potential to change the world for the better and eventual market commercialization. The quantity of quality applications was so impressive that the company issued more grants than planned and created an additional category of developmental grants.

The Blue Ocean grants are divided into two phases. Phase I grants are issued to fund initial evaluation and development of ideas and technologies to the proof of concept phase. The company originally planned to award up to 10 Phase I grants of up to $10,000, but expanded that number to 13 grants in five different countries when the grant committee, made up of Ocean Optics Chief Technology Officer Jason M. Eichenholz and independent photonics experts, felt strongly compelled to find funding for an additional three worthy recipients.

In addition, another seven strong submissions were awarded development grants. Development grant recipients will be given or loaned Ocean Optics equipment to facilitate progression of their grant ideas, enabling them to be submitted for either Phase II of this year’s program or next year’s Phase I funding. Phase II grants will be issued to nurture a proposed technology through proof of concept in a way that enables the potential of market commercialization. Up to two Phase II grants of up to $100,000 each will be awarded in early 2012.

“We were very impressed with the response to the Blue Ocean Grant Program. We had over 100 submissions from multiple countries, with a diverse range of photonics technologies and applications,” said Eichenholz. “The submissions quality was spectacular and our winners demonstrate the power of optical sensing to change the world. We’re excited and honored to help facilitate development of all of these amazing ideas and anticipate some game changing future products as a result.”

Recipients were chosen based on ability to change the world for the better, out of the box thinking, technical merit and potential commercial viability.

Phase I grant winners are:
Jarkko Antila, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, MEMS-based Mid-IR spectrometer
Christopher Fraker, Diabetes Research Institute, Tailored oxygen levels for cell culturing
Matthew Gunn, Aberystwyth University, Economical hyperspectral imager
Guifang Li, CREOL/The School of Optics at the University of Central Florida, The College of Optics & Photonics, Novel tunable mid IR laser sources
Zhiwen Liu, The Pennsylvania State University, G-Fresnel optical spectrometer miniaturization
Hans-Peter Loock, Queen’s University, Fiber-Optic mercury probe
Robert Pal, Durham University / FScan LTD, Handheld rapid prostate cancer screening instrument
Bill Parker, Creative Microsystems, Nanoliter optical sensing
Nadia Pervez, Chromation Partners, Novel photonic crystal spectrometer
Scott Rowe, Ocular Prognostics, LLC, Macular pigment measurement
Maurizio Tormen, CSEM SA, MEMS wavemeter
Ian White, University of Maryland, Inkjet-printed SERS dipsticks
Liang Zhang, University of Washington, Detection system for early childhood caries

Development grant winners are:
Kristen Maitland, Texas A&M University, Spectrally encoded depth scans for early cancer detection
Dominic Murphy, Fusion Photonics Ltd., Fiber fourier transform spectrometer
Dustin Ritter, Engineering World Health organization – Texas A&M chapter, Medical oxygen concentrator measurement system
Frank Rutten, Keele University, Rapid on-site detection of asbestos
Eric Smith, FMIP, Realtime spectroscopy for the produce industry
Kate Sugden, Aston University, Fiber Bragg grating sensing using new Ocean Optics spectrometers
Bo Yang, USF College of Marine Science, Low cost optical pH sensors

Ocean Optics would like to thank the following grant committee members for their time and expertise in reviewing applications: Steve Anderson of SPIE, professor David Brady of Duke University, Dr. Daniel L. Farkas of Spectral Molecular Imaging, Dr. Thomas Giallorenzi of OSA and the Naval Research Labs, professor Bahaa E. A. Saleh of CREOL/The School of Optics at the University of Central Florida and professor Andreas Tünnermann of Fraunhofer IOF.

To see full abstracts on the award-winning ideas, visit http://blueoceangrants.com/.

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Ocean Optics Appoints New President

Kevin Chittim takes helm at Dunedin-based photonics manufacturer
Dunedin, FL (September 7, 2011) – Ocean Optics, the world’s largest manufacturer of miniature spectrometers and related spectroscopy equipment has appointed Kevin Chittim to the position of company President. Chittim’s appointment follows the move of former President Robert Randelman to Divisional Chief Executive for Ocean Optics’ parent company, Halma p.l.c.

Kevin Chittim, President of Ocean Optics

Kevin Chittim, President of Ocean Optics

Prior to his appointment at Ocean Optics, Chittim served as Chief Executive Officer at sister Halma company, Labsphere. During his tenure at Labsphere, Chittim led the company through a period of explosive growth, including a successful merger with SphereOptics in 2010, and establishment of a wholly owned subsidiary in Shanghai, China. Before joining Labsphere in 2007, he held executive positions at Radiant Imaging, Melles Griot, Newport and Spectra Physics.

Of the appointment, Randelman says, “Kevin brings significant knowledge of the photonics marketplace and the potential to make a substantial impact in broadening the range of applications and bringing them to market faster throughout the world. In addition, as our organization grows Kevin will be an excellent mentor and coach to develop our leaders of tomorrow.”

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Ocean Optics Overture Free Spectrometer Operating Software

Performs basic spectroscopy functions including absorbance, transmission and emission
Dunedin, FL (August 22, 2011) – Ocean Optics has expanded its software offerings with the launch of Overture, a free spectrometer operating platform for simple data and spectral collection. This more basic software is geared to users new to spectroscopy or those who do not require the more advanced features of Ocean Optics’ sophisticated SpectraSuite software.

Overture is free, easy to use operating software for most Ocean Optics spectrometers. It provides basic spectroscopy functions and is ideal for novice users and customers who do not require more sophisticated spectral processing.

Overture is free, easy to use operating software for most Ocean Optics spectrometers. It provides basic spectroscopy functions and is ideal for novice users and customers who do not require more sophisticated spectral processing.

For use with most all Ocean Optics spectrometers, Overture’s standard functions include absorbance, transmission and intensity modes. Integration time and other spectrometer operating parameters are controlled via an intuitive user interface with icons and setup wizards. The 32-/64-bit Windows compatible system allows users to manipulate how data is displayed using tools such as smoothing, snapshot and zoom, and permits simultaneous viewing of two graphs for comparison. A concentration wizard guides users through the process of measuring solutions absorbance at different concentrations, plotting a calibration curve and applying Beer-Lambert law to determine unknown concentrations.

Overture now comes standard with most Ocean Optics spectrometer purchases. Current spectrometer owners may download a free copy of Overture at http://www.oceanoptics.com/Products/overture.asp.

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Ocean Optics Announces Photo Video Challenge 2011

Over $10,000 in prizes for winning images
Dunedin, FL (June 28, 2011) – Ocean Optics, the industry’s leading supplier of miniature fiber optic spectrometers, has opened the submissions period for its second annual Photo and Video Challenge (www.oceanphotochallenge.com) for users of the company’s equipment and systems.

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Cash prizes will be awarded for best overall photograph ($2,000) and best overall video ($3,500). Second place prizes of $1,000 in both categories will be given, as well as three $500 runner up prizes in each category.

The challenge is open to all owners of Ocean Optics spectrometers and systems–customers, distributors and business partners are all eligible. The submission period runs through November 15, 2011. Winning entries, chosen for their innovation, entertainment and educational value, will be announced December 1, 2011.

Photo Credit: Michael Mazanec

Photo Credit: Michael Mazanec

The company hopes to encourage entrants to show off how they use Ocean Optics spectrometers and systems to make the world a better place through optical sensing.  Visit www.oceanphotochallenge.com to see last year’s winning entries and apply for the 2011 Challenge.

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Open Innovation Grant Money Available from Ocean Optics

Over a quarter of a million dollars to fund research and development in optical sensing
Dunedin, Florida (June 10, 2011) – With the goal of advancing technology in optical sensing, Ocean Optics has rolled out a new open innovation funding program with $300,000 available for two grant phases. Modeled after the streamlined Gates Foundation application process, the Blue Ocean Grants and Challenges program (www.blueoceangrants.com) seeks novel technologies with the potential for market commercialization.  The deadline for applications is quickly approaching with a closing date of June, 30 2011 for the first round of funding.

The spectra of a hot air balloon burner is measured using an Ocean Optics' Spectrometer.

The spectra of a hot air balloon burner is measured using an Ocean Optics' Spectrometer.

As a company that itself grew from the innovation of an independent research team, Ocean Optics recognizes the value of looking outside its organization to develop ideas for new products and even new companies. In addition to the cash awards, the Blue Ocean program affords applicants the opportunity to work with Ocean Optics’ team to transform the grant idea into a reality. The company is offering access to its engineering and marketing teams, for anything from customization of its spectroscopy products to recommendations of partners and suppliers. 

“Because optical sensing technologies have such a broad potential application base–Ocean Optics’ equipment is used for everything from cancer detection and biophotonic sensing, to ozone depletion measurement, to biofuel characterization–we expect a diverse applicant pool for Blue Ocean Grants,” explains Ocean Optics’ Chief Technology Officer, Jason M. Eichenholz. “Students, inventors or budding entrepreneurs from life sciences, chemistry, quality assurance, environment, research, industry and other disciplines are all encouraged to apply. We’re hoping to uncover new technologies that help us fulfill our mission to change the world for the better via optical sensing.”

The grants are divided into two phases. Phase I grants are issued to fund further evaluation and development of technologies; up to 10 grants of up $10,000 will be awarded. Phase II grants are issued to mature a proposed technology through proof of concept in a way that enables the potential of market commercialization; up to two of these awards will be granted for up to $100,000 each.

The application process has been kept simple; the entire application for the grant is less than three pages. Applicants are asked to answer two fundamental questions: What is their idea and how will it be implemented or tested? Recipients will be chosen based on scientific prowess, creativity, technical merit and commercial viability.

To learn more about the grant program and application process, watch a short video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PVHxkvEnVE, visit the program website at http://blueoceangrants.com/, or phone Ocean Optics at +1 727-733-2447.

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Ocean Optics to be Featured on National Geographic Show Thursday Night

“Known Universe” episode to focus on cosmic blasts
Dunedin, FL (May 31, 2011) – Miniature spectroscopy pioneer Ocean Optics will be making an appearance on an upcoming episode of “Known Universe” Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 9 p.m. ET, on the National Geographic channel.  The episode, “Biggest Cosmic Blasts,” will explore volcanic explosions across the solar system.

Ocean Optics’ Application Sales Scientist Dr. Jorge Macho was interviewed for the program to discuss how the company’s spectroscopy equipment can be used to measure various atmospheric elements and matter from geologic events such as volcanic eruptions.

The company is no stranger to measurement in extreme environments. In geological and environmental studies, spectroscopy is used to examine mineral and soil composition on-site, measure solar irradiance and UV absorbance, evaluate water quality, monitor pollution, and study volcanic gases. Ocean Optics spectrometers have been used to analyze UV radiation at the summit of Mount Everest and detect the presence of water vapor on the moon.

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Ocean Optics Team Member Wins Global Technology Award

Nelson Chandler takes £20K top prize from multi-national technology company
Dunedin, Florida (May 12, 2011) – Ocean Optics is pleased to announce that Nelson Chandler has been awarded the Gold Award for Innovation from its parent company, Halma p.l.c.  The award recognizes technology advancements made by individuals at Halma subsidiaries that have a significant impact on the company’s success.

Nelson Chandler accepts the Gold Award for Innovation from Halma Chairman Geoff Unwin.

Nelson Chandler accepts the Gold Award for Innovation from Halma Chairman Geoff Unwin.

Halma believes that encouraging innovation and unique ideas is a key factor in its success.  The awards committee looks for creative new ways of doing things to improve a company’s products or operations and rewards the individuals with the determination to bring them to fruition.

Chandler received the £20K (USD $32K) Gold Award for Innovation, beating out 38 other entries from 22 companies in 6 countries. A software engineer at Ocean Optics, Chandler revamped the testing and calibration process for the company’s spectroscopy products, making it quicker and more reliable.  By developing original software and modifying hardware equipment, he was able to make processing eight times faster, while improving consistency and quality. 

Typically Innovation Award submissions involve a team of individuals working together. Chandler’s achievement is particularly impressive as he is the sole person responsible for the improvements made. He received his B.S. in Software Engineering Technology from The University of Southern Mississippi and has been with Ocean Optics since 2007.

Headquartered in Dunedin, Fla., Ocean Optics makes products for optical sensing – fundamental methods of measuring and interpreting the interaction of light with matter.  With locations in Asia and Europe, the company has sold more than 150,000 spectrometers worldwide since 1992. Ocean Optics’ extensive line of complementary technologies includes chemical sensors, analytical instrumentation, optical fibers, metrology products and optics.

Based in the United Kingdom, Halma is a holding company of almost 50 worldwide subsidiaries that develop and manufacture products to improve quality of life for people worldwide. The company’s business groups focus on industrial safety, health and analysis and infrastructure sensors.

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