High tech company with operations in Palmer Twp.  wins US Defense Agency contract that helped create the Internet

High tech company with operations in Palmer Twp. wins US Defense Agency contract that helped create the Internet

Coherent Corp., a high-tech company with operations in Palmer Township, announced Tuesday that it has won a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop optical technology that can promote low-cost global communication.

The agency, known as DARPA, is the research and development agency of the US Department of Defense. It was founded in 1958 during the Cold War with the Soviet Union and later helped pave the way for the modern Internet. DARPA also promoted technology for modern computers, voice recognition, touchscreens, and wireless communication.

Coherent, formerly known as II-VI (pronounced two-six) Inc., did not disclose the terms of the contract. The contract supports DARPA’s Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node program, which aims to create low-cost, high-speed data links to enable communications between groups of government and private satellites in low Earth orbits.

“Beyond defense applications, these satellite networks offer tremendous potential for low-cost global communications, sensing, imaging, space exploration and more,” said Dr. Chris Koeppen, Director of Coherent’s technology, said in a statement.

Incompatible and proprietary links prevent the sharing of information between satellite “constellations” because the groups of orbiting devices are known. Falling costs have allowed government and private operations to launch many satellites. SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, plans to launch enough satellites to provide wireless internet coverage to everyone on Earth.

Coherent Corp. is the combination of the old II-VI, which took on the acquisition target name Coherent Inc. The newly named Coherent is based in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.

The company has three divisions: the Materials segment, formerly known as Compound Semiconductors; the network segment, formerly photonic solutions, and a laser segment.

Coherent is listed on the NASDAQ market under the symbol COHR. Shares of the company fell $1.32, or 2.9%, to $43.57 on Tuesday.

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