ESTA 2005 Product of the Year
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Ocean Optics began in 1989, when Florida university researchers developed a fiber optic pH sensor as part of an instrument designed to study the role of the oceans in global warming. They soon formed Ocean Optics, Inc., and their ingenious work earned a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. While designing the pH-monitoring instrument, the researchers wanted to incorporate with their sensor a spectrometer small enough to fit onto a buoy and were surprised to discover none existed. So, they built their own. In 1992, the founders of Ocean Optics filled a substantial need in the research community and changed the science of spectroscopy forever by creating a breakthrough technology: a miniature fiber optic spectrometer nearly a 1,000 times smaller and 10 times less expensive than previous systems.By April 1992, just 30 days after the successful completion of Phase II of the SBIR grant, Ocean Optics, Inc. introduced the S1000 -- "The World's First Miniature Fiber Optic Spectrometer." As a result of the dramatic reduction in size and cost of optical sensing systems, applications once deemed too costly or technologically impractical using conventional spectrometers were not only feasible, but practical. In just more than a decade, we've placed over 75,000 systems worldwide and enabled thousands of different applications -- from cancer detection and color matching to plasma monitoring and particle size analysis. Our spectrometers have been specified everywhere from research vessels in the Gulf of Mexico to the Rocky 7 Mars rover.Ocean Optics has developed a diversified set of manufacturing arts that are essential to components in key photonics segments: Optical Sensing, Display Optics and Biophotonics. Primary markets include radiometric applications, consumer electronics, process control, environmental monitoring, life sciences and medical diagnostics. Our systems have been used everywhere from in vivo to the ocean floor; on the Mars Rover and the Mir space station; and in Florida's orange groves and South America's rain forests. Ocean Optics is headquartered in Dunedin, Fla., and has full-service sales offices in Europe and China, supported by a worldwide network