Imaging & Detector Industry Report

Apr 1st, 2002

Dalsa picks up Zarlink Semiconductor
Dalsa (Waterloo, Ont., Canada) will acquire a controlling interest in the semiconductor foundry facility of Zarlink Semiconductor (Bromont, Que., Canada). The acquisition is intended to strengthen Dalsa's capabilities in charge-coupled-device (CCD) and complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors, mixed signal, CMOS power integrated circuit, and microelectromechanical systems semiconductor sectors, and advance Dalsa to a fully integrated semiconductor company. The Bromont foundry will be renamed Dalsa Semiconductor. Following the transaction, Dalsa will have 550 employees. Under the terms of the agreement, Dalsa will pay $21.6 million in cash for an 80.1% ownership stake in Dalsa Semiconductor. Zarlink will also receive a 19.9% ownership position in Dalsa Semiconductor and remain a significant customer of the foundry. The boards of directors for both companies have approved the transaction, which was completed in February. Dalsa is financing the acquisition through an existing credit facility.

eMagin's OLED display to aid infantry
Organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) microdisplay technology being developed at eMagin (Hopewell Junction, NY) has been selected for the Version 1.0 helmet-mounted displays (HMDs) for the U.S. Army's Land Warrior Program. Financial terms were not disclosed. Land Warrior is an integrated digital system that incorporates computerized communication, navigation, targeting, and protection systems for use by infantry soldiers. Kaiser Electro-Optics (Carlsbad, CA), the principal contractor for the Army's Land Warrior HMD system, and eMagin will apply their respective expertise in HMD and imaging technology. The new HMD represents the latest in commercial off-the-shelf designs to provide soldiers with enhanced capability on the digital battlefield. Kaiser will integrate eMagin's full-color 852 x 600 triad-pixel OLED microdisplays into their compact monocular HMD. The Army expects to eventually equip more than 40,000 soldiers with the Land Warrior system. Similar systems are of interest for other military applications as well as for related operations such as fire and rescue.

E Ink teams with VST and Air Products, gets $25 million funding
E Ink (Cambridge, MA) announced the first application of its character and segmented display platform in an agreement with Vossloh System-Technik (VST; Kiel, Germany), a supplier of mobile and stationary passenger-information systems. The two companies will jointly develop electronic-ink-based signage for the European transportation industry. E Ink also announced that it is joining forces with Air Products and Chemicals (Allentown, PA), a supplier of gases, chemicals, and services to the global electronics industry, to develop next-generation materials for electronic-ink displays. Air Products, which has annual revenues of $5.7 billion and operations in 30 countries, has taken a minority interest in E Ink under which it will provide technical support for the joint development of electronic materials. E Ink has also received a $25 million investment from Toppan Printing (Tokyo, Japan), the global market-share leader for color filter arrays in the flat-panel display industry. The deal significantly expands a strategic partnership between the two companies to commercialize electronic paper.

UDC benefits from Princeton University patent
Universal Display (UDC; Ewing, NJ) revealed that its research partner, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ), has been issued a new patent for an organic vapor-phase deposition (OVPD) process that can provide substantial advantages for the manufacturing of OLED flat-panel displays. Universal Display has exclusive worldwide rights to the patent, titled Low Pressure Vapor Phase Deposition of Organic Thin Films. The advantages of OVPD include higher materials use, increased control over the deposition process, higher-potential throughput and yield, lower manufacturing costs, and providing a step toward web-based continuous process fabrication in which organic electronics are uniformly and efficiently deposited on thin, flexible surfaces. Aixtron AG (Aachen, Germany) will manufacture and sell OVPD equipment under exclusive license from UDC. Following an 18-month joint development program, the preproduction OVPD fabrication equipment is currently being installed in UDC's expanded pilot-line facility.

Also in the news . . .
Eastman Kodak (Rochester, NY) has licensed its OLED technology to Denso (Tokyo, Japan) for use as passive-matrix displays in automobiles. . . . A forecast by market-research firm iSuppli (El Segundo, CA) predicts that CMOS image sensors will continue to take market share away from CCD devices in the next few years, with CMOS share gaining from 23% in 2001 to 47% in 2005.

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