IMAGING AND DETECTOR INDUSTRY REPORT

Nanosolar (Palo Alto, CA), a solar-cell manufacturer that uses proprietary nanoparticle ink and fast roll-printing technology, announced that it now has $100 million in funding to take its photovoltaic (PV) solar-electricity technology into volume production.

$100 million takes Nanosolar to mass production

Nanosolar (Palo Alto, CA), a solar-cell manufacturer that uses proprietary nanoparticle ink and fast roll-printing technology, announced that it now has $100 million in funding to take its photovoltaic (PV) solar-electricity technology into volume production. The company announced completion of a Series C Preferred Stock financing of more than $75 million, which, in conjunction with recent government factory subsidies, brings its total cash position (including nondebt cash equivalents) to just above $100 million.

“We are pleased to have been able to achieve such a broad consensus among the leading investors in this industry that we have managed to develop the world’s distinctly most cost-efficient, mass-manufacturable solar cell,” said Martin Roscheisen, CEO of Nanosolar.

ESA selects Sofradir to develop detector

Sofradir (Grenoble, France), a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared (IR) detectors for military, space, and industrial applications, was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a near-IR detector for the Visible Infrared Imaging spectrometer (VN-IMS), a measurement instrument that will be used in BepiColombo, the ESA’s space mission to Mercury.

The short-wave IR (SWIR) detector that Sofradir will develop-500 x 256 with 30 µm pitch-will sense radiation in visible and short-wave IR (SWIR) ranges. The role of Sofradir’s SWIR will be to capture data for the study of Mercury mineralogy. The actual BepiColombo launch date to Mercury is expected around 2013.

DALSA breaks CCD pixel barrier

Imaging electronics company DALSA Semiconductor, a division of DALSA (Waterloo, ON, Canada), successfully fabricated and delivered the world’s highest resolution image-sensor chip to its customer, Semiconductor Technology Associates (STA; San Juan Capistrano, CA). The CCD device, which measures approximately 4 x 4 in., has a total resolution of better than 111 million pixels (10,560 x 10,560 pixels at 9 µm). It is the world’s first imager to break the 100-million-pixel barrier.

STA developed the chip for the Astrometry Department of the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) to assist in the determination of the positions and motions of stars and solar-system objects.

Isonics Invests in ‘people-screening’ imager

The Homeland Security and Defense Corporation subsidiary of Isonics (HSDC; Columbia, MD) is investing in noninvasive thermal-imaging technology for people screening. Isonics has entered into a definitive agreement with privately held ISCON Video Imaging (Watertown, MA), which gives HSDC the right to acquire up to 51% equity ownership in the company in a series of defined investments based on successful completion of certain milestones.

ISCON is developing patent-pending IR-imaging-based technologies for the noninvasive detection of objects hidden under clothing, as well as technology for the determination of the chemical composition of such objects to identify explosives and drugs.

Camera and sensor manufacturers combine

Cantronic (Vancouver, BC, Canada), an IR camera manufacturer, and QWIP Systems (Edmonton, AB, Canada), a detector and sensor manufacturer, will consolidate under the name Cantronic Systems (“New Cantronic”). Upon completion of the amalgamation, the board of directors of New Cantronic will consist of five directors, four appointed by Cantronic and one appointed by QWIP.

QWIP, through its U.S. subsidiary, holds a worldwide exclusive license on the quantum-well IR photodetector technology, originally developed at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA). “This acquisition not only provides us with a source for detector technology and a closer relationship with the U.S. government, but also allows us to establish a U.S. presence, which Cantronic views as an important next step in its growth plan,” said James Zahn, president and CEO of Cantronic.

For more business news visit www.optoelectronicsreport.com.

Also in the news . . .

Machine-vision supplier Applied Vision (Akron, OH) opened a service and support center in Malaysia and a direct-sales office in Singapore to support its growing customer base in Southeast Asia. . . . Cognex (Natick, MA), supplier of machine-vision systems, has entered into an agreement with MultiPix Imaging (Hampshire, England) whereby MultiPix will become an Automation Solution Provider (ASP) for Cognex’s range of Vision Sensor products. . . . Clarks Shoes is preparing to install 3-D foot gauges in a number of its leading stores following the award of a $8.5 million contract to QinetiQ (Farnborough, England) for its foot gauge system, which uses six 3-D camera systems. . . . Robotics and vision supplier Adept Technology (Livermore, CA) completed the sale of 731,251 shares of its common stock to Crosslink Capital for $10 million and plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes and to fund growth initiatives.

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