E M Optomechanical, Inc. is a five-year old company, which was initially formed to provide design and fabrication services related to optical systems. The company is now involved in a unique opportunity to commercialize technology licensed from Sandia National Laboratories.
The patented technology, called long-working distance interference microscopy, is the basis for an optical profiler metrology instrument product line. The first generation optical profiler is intended for use primarily by microsystems researchers for measuring and characterizing the micro- and nano-scale motions of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) devices and other microsystems. Several sales have been made to universities and national laboratories as well as commercial companies. Recently, the company made its first sale of a new low-cost version of its optical profiler specifically intended to be used to train students to perform microsystems operation and testing.
The move to Gilbert that began in May is now complete and already has shown some early successes with a new customer in Tucson, several pending sales, and a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. "The NIST contract is very important to our future product designs and will result in strengthening our intellectual property base," said Tom Swann, E M Optomechanical's founder and president.
"Business was way down late in 2008 and early in 2009 and it seemed like a good time to make a change," said Swann. "Arizona is one of the top areas in the country for optics based businesses with the University of Arizona Optical Sciences Center and the optics and nanotechnology clusters which have resulted in a venture capital and angel investor community that understands and appreciates our kind of business."