Kopin Corp., a Taunton, Mass., maker of microdisplays for mobile consumer and military electronics, announced it has received a $750,000 contract from the Department of Defense to develop an advanced display driver chip for its full-color CyberDisplay SXGA active-matrix liquid crystal display. The full-color driver ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) is being designed for compatibility with digital interfaces for advanced soldier systems, such as night-vision goggles and the Army's Future Force projects. Sample quantities of the ASIC are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2006. . . . Lastek Group of Companies, located at the University of Adelaide's Commerce and Research Precinct in Adelaide, Australia, has signed an exclusive agreement with nLight, a Vancouver, Wash., maker of high-power semiconductor lasers, to distribute its CW and QCW high-power visible and near-infrared diode laser product lines in Australia and New Zealand. Lastek makes, distributes and exports photonics-based research instruments; it will handle sales and service of nLight’s products. . . . UK optoelectronics device and laser diode specialist Photonic Products has appointed Peter Skinner as sales and market development engineer. Skinner has more than 15 years of international sales and engineering experience, including executive positions at Nortel Networks and Plessey Telecommunications (now Marconi). Photonic Products makes electro-optical subassemblies and optoelectronic components based on semiconductor laser diode technology and is a distributor of industrial laser diodes, LEDs and precision optical lenses. . . . Thermo Electron Corp., a Waltham, Mass., maker of analytical instruments, has opened a customer service and demonstration laboratory center in Shanghai, China. The 43,000-square-foot facility will also be its sales, marketing, technical support and service headquarters for the region. Thermo opened another Shanghai facility last year that now serves as a center for its Asian operations and which produces atomic absorption instruments, microplate readers and sample preparation equipment. Thermo said it will soon also maufacture metal detection and environmental instruments in Shanghai.