On the right wavelength
A world leader in its field, Gooch & Housego researches, designs, engineers and manufactures advanced photonic systems, components and instrumentation for applications in the Aerospace & Defence, Industrial, Life Sciences and Scientific Research sectors
Its expertise extends from research through the development of prototypes to volume manufacturing and enables innovation and effective manufacturing in the aerospace & defence, industrial, life sciences and scientific research (Big Science) sectors.
Researching and manufacturing in eight sites across the US and UK, G&H is an expert across a uniquely broad range of photonic technologies – crystal growth, optical materials processing, acousto-optics and electro-optics, fibre optics, DFB laser modules, precision optics (thin-film coating, birefringent optics, non-linear, planar and aspheric), RF driver electronics in addition to light measurement and calibration solutions.
When combined with the company’s optical, mechanical, electronic and software design capabilities, G&H is able to provide complete optical system design, engineering and manufacturing services, if applicable on an ITAR / non-ITAR basis, with COTS or bespoke products.
To give more of a specific example, in the Industrial area, Gooch & Housego serves a number of markets, including:
- Industrial Lasers for materials processing applications
- LED and Display testing for commercial and industrial applications in the lighting, automotive and consumer electronics sectors as well as for aerospace & defence
- Metrology for laser-based, high-precision, non-contact measurement systems
- Semiconductor for lithography and test and measurement applications
- Sensing for applications including strain, temperature and pressure sensing
- Telecommunications specifically for high reliability and high performance applications
The broad range of expertise found at the organisation has been accrued over almost seven decades in business. When it was founded in 1948 its core skills were centred on manufacturing scientific optical components and crystalline materials, and these skills are still very much at the cornerstone of the current operations at Ilminster with global sales of acousto-optics, crystal optics and precision optics.
From these origins as a craft-based optical engineering company rich in practical optical manufacturing skills, G&H has undergone a transformation over the last 20 years into a high-technology photonics business through an acquisition policy of the best-in-breed companies in individual technology areas. The company now has manufacturing sites in the US in California, Florida, Massachusetts and Ohio in addition to its three UK facilities located in Ilminster, Glenrothes and Torquay.
In 1997 Gooch & Housego was admitted to the alternative investment market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange. Today the company also includes sales offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore with additional representation by a global network of distributors.
The transformation mentioned above involved a series of strategic acquisitions, beginning in 1995 with Optronic Laboratories. The two latest were added in 2013, with the purchase of both a Scottish and a Greek company. Spanoptic Ltd’s manufacturing capabilities in the area of aspheres and infrared optics enabled G&H to offer a more complete range of precision optical products. The company was founded in 1976, employed
60 people in a 1000 ft² / 90m² facility in Glenrothes, Scotland – just north of the Firth of Forth and 50 miles from Edinburgh.
Meanwhile Constelex Technology Enablers Ltd, an Athens, Greece, based designer and manufacturer of advanced photonic systems was purchased to boost G&H’s Systems Technology Group (STG) and its remit of developing a higher-added-value capability at the sub-systems and systems level. The Constelex acquisition brought added expertise in the area of satellite and space photonics.
The Systems Technology Group
The Systems Technology Group (STG) was established in 2013 to function as a separate business unit to design, develop, and prototype systems-level products. Its multi-disciplinary team, with expertise in mechanical, electronic, and software design and modelling, is integrating these technologies with G&H’s expertise in photonics. The STG accelerates G&H’s move up the value chain by providing a strong pipeline of component and sub-systems.
The STG relies on government funding for some of its work, although not all the grants it receives are from the Government. These funded programmes are strategically selected and managed to create lasting value, and they need to lead to application targeted technology development and viable products. The STG is currently focused on OCT, fibre optics in the general sense, which includes lasers, sensing and also satellite communications.
The defence and avionics markets are two of G&H’s largest business sectors and have been important drivers for its investment in operational quality and programme management. As the defence sector focuses on value and sustaining its wide array of platforms, G&H sees strong opportunities for photonics as a superior replacement for many existing technologies.
In addition, the STG is actively developing erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) systems for next generation satellite deployment to enable broadband satellite connectivity. Building on its successful use in science missions, photonics is in the process of being qualified for widespread applications for both satellite-to-satellite communication and on-board satellite data processing and routing.
G&H’s strategy is to position itself as a lead supplier of space photonics solutions by continuing to work with major government agencies and contractors on ground breaking scientific demonstrations.
Ultimately, the organisation believes that the high-reliability design and production of components and systems for satellites under the stringent requirements of space flight environment has general applicability to a wide range of other defence and commercial avionic markets.
It also believes that life sciences applications, with their worldwide markets and strong benefits to society, offer the largest potential for G&H’s expansion. G&H is the established leader in fibre optical subsystems for optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT has now become a standard ophthalmic diagnostic tool and is being deployed into multiple other applications such as cardio and cancer imaging. In order to pursue its ambitious plans for the future, G&H is investing in targeted bio-medical applications, developing new products and capabilities.
Gooch & Housego
Products: Photonics systems
Sites: Eight sites across US and UK