Petros A. Kotidis, PhD, has joined Block Engineering LLC of Marlborough, Mass., as its CEO. Before joining Block, a supplier of FTIR (Fourier transform infrared) spectrometers for defense and commercial markets, Kotidis was vice president of business development at Axsun Technologies, a Billerica developer of miniaturization optical packaging technology. Previously, he was director of strategic technologies and ventures at Nortel Networks. He has also directed the New Product and Business Ventures Group at Wilminton-based Textron Systems Corp., a maker of laser-based industrial process control products. Kotidis has PhD and MS degrees in aeronautics from MIT, where he also minored in management and finance at the Sloan School of Management, and a BS in mechanical engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. He has been awarded 14 patents in laser-based, ultrasonic and spectroscopic devices and applications. Block Engineering, a division of Spectra Optics Inc., is working with Northrop Grumman Corp. to market a mobile chemical agent detection system (MCAD) and recently introduced the Porthos (portable hazard observation system) spectrometer. Its Block MEMS LLC affiliate recently won an Army contract to develop a miniaturized FT-IR chemical detector using microelectromechanical systems technology. The new product will be called "ChemPen" and will be the size of a fountain pen. A working prototype should be available by 2008, said Daniel J. Cavicchio Jr., president of Spectra Optics.