Battelle Buys Optimer Photonics

Battelle Memorial Institute has acquired Optimer Photonics Inc., a company spun out of Battelle in 2001 to commercialize electrooptic waveguide components for the telecom industry. No financial terms were disclosed. Optimer Photonics had raised over $10 million in VC funding from Battelle, Mitsubishi Corp. and Primaxis Technology Ventures.




Battelle announced today that it has recently acquired the intellectual property and other assets of Optimer Photonics, Inc. including 14 U.S. Patents, several international patents, and an additional 12 pending applications.


Optimer Photonics, Inc. was formed in 2001 to commercialize the electrooptic waveguide components developed at Battelle for the telecommunications industry. Over its five-year history, Optimer Photonics evolved from a company focused on optical switching and modulation to a company using electrooptic materials and components to generate, modulate, and detect millimeter-waves (30 GHz to 300 GHz).


Optimer Photonics has also developed and patented over 100 new materials that can be used in both conventional optical and nonlinear optical applications. Several polymer systems were developed that have refractive index values between 1.3 and 1.6 and can be used as optical adhesives or host nonlinear optical chromophores such as liquid crystals or Pockel type chromophores. Both the polymers and the nonlinear optical chromophores were used to create variable optical attenuators (VOA's) and high speed modulators that operate in the infrared and visible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.


The intellectual property portfolio, now owned by Battelle, includes optical and electrooptic polymer materials; electrooptic waveguide components; architectures for fiber-to-the-home implementations; and photonic approaches for millimeter-wave generation, modulation, and detection.


“We intend to pursue research and development opportunities in millimeter-wave photonics technology including potential applications in: wireless data transmission, highly linear analog links, millimeter-wave spectroscopy, and stand-off detection,” said Richard W. Ridgway, Ph.D., who served as the Chief Technology Officer of Optimer Photonics, and is currently a Senior Research Leader in Battelle's Electronics and Avionics Systems Product Line.


Ridgeway is leading Battelle's efforts to pursue commercial and government-funded opportunities for these millimeter-wave applications. Dr. Vince McGinniss, who served as the Senior Vice President of Materials of Optimer, and is now a Senior Research Leader in Battelle's Chemical, Environmental, and Materials operation group is leading Battelle's efforts to pursue industry and government funded opportunities for the use of Optimer's materials.


Battelle is the world's largest non-profit independent research and development organization, providing innovative solutions to the world's most pressing needs through its four global businesses: Laboratory Management, National Security, Energy Technology, and Health and Life Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $4 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management, and technology commercialization. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 20,400 employees in more than 120 locations worldwide, including seven national laboratories which Battelle manages or co-manages for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


Battelle also is one of the nation's leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science and math education. For more information visit or contact Media Relations Manager Katy Delaney at (410) 306-8638 or at