Space Photonics Inc., a Genesis Technology Incubator client at the University of Arkansas, announced Thursday (Nov. 1) that it has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with SCHOTT North America Inc. for the commercialization of its patented LaserFire Free Space Optical Communications Systems for military and intelligence customers.

The covert optical wireless communications technology enables uninterrupted, secure high-capacity communications, including building-to-building, ship-to-shore, vehicle-to-vehicle and other platforms where detectable and lower capacity microwave is not effective, and where high-capacity fiber-optic cable is not available or has been damaged.

“It is exciting to see Space Photonics continue to grow and be successful,” said Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development at the University of Arkansas. “Its success reflects well on the research and innovation capabilities at the University of Arkansas and in the state of Arkansas.”

Chuck Chalfant, president and chief executive officer of Space Photonics, said SCHOTT is a world-renowned supplier and manufacturer of optical components.

“There’s no other company in the world that has better expertise when it comes to optics,” Chalfant said. “The partnership for us is huge. We hope to start generating sales in the next six to nine months. We thought up some cool stuff and now it works really well. We’ve found the perfect partner.”

Under the licensing agreement, Space Photonics will receive a royalty payment for each LaserFire system sold in the United States by SCHOTT. That revenue will allow Space Photonics to expand as a company and create more high-tech, high-paying jobs, Chalfant said. All but two of the firm’s 12 employees are graduates of the University of Arkansas.

Space Photonics Inc., based at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park in Fayetteville, develops, markets and sells high reliability optical communications systems for military and aerospace applications. Its customers have included the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and NASA.

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