Imaging & Detector Industry Report

Aug. 1, 2005
e2v technologies (Chelmsford, England), a developer and manufacturer of high-technology electronic components and subsystems, has been awarded the flight-phase contract to supply the European Space Agency (ESA) with CCD imaging sensors for the primary scientific instrument on its GAIA space mission.

e2v technologies wins GAIA mission contract

e2v technologies (Chelmsford, England), a developer and manufacturer of high-technology electronic components and subsystems, has been awarded the flight-phase contract to supply the European Space Agency (ESA) with CCD imaging sensors for the primary scientific instrument on its GAIA space mission. This contract is worth €14.3 million (US$17.3 million) over the next three years.

The win is the culmination of a successful two-year contract for the design and development of a custom CCD image sensor specifically tailored to the needs of the GAIA program. The development phase contract was placed in 2003 and was valued at €2 million (US$2.4 million) and there are further options to supply up to another €10 million (US$12.1 million) of flight-grade sensors for this program.

Japan takes the lead in OLED displays

According to a recent report by iSuppli (El Segundo, CA), Japanese manufacturers have taken the early lead in the fast-growing equipment market for organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) displays, looking to recover their reputation in the global display market now dominated by Korean and Taiwanese suppliers.

The report finds that Japanese suppliers have leveraged their strengths in semiconductor and thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display (TFT-LCD) manufacturing equipment to gain the early lead in the OLED equipment market. Japanese makers Tokki (Tokyo, Japan) and Ulvac (Kanagawa, Japan) top the list of suppliers selling production-scale OLED deposition equipment, according to the report.

While the outlook for OLED displays is robust, near-term sales growth is being inhibited by inadequacies in production equipment. Technical and business issues are slowing OLED equipment development. A major challenge in the OLED equipment market is a lack of standardization. Every piece of OLED manufacturing gear is custom-made even if the manufacturer offers a set menu of features and options. This reliance on customized design is because OLED processes vary greatly and are not optimized; therefore, panel makers need special adjustments as well as built-in flexibility for the inevitable changes that are still occurring in the market.

CDT, Sumitomo Chemical form OLED venture

Cambridge Display Technology (Cambridge, England) and Sumitomo Chemical (Tokyo, Japan) signed a memorandum of understanding to form a new joint venture company to develop and supply advanced polymer OLED (P-OLED) materials and formulated inks for use in commercial P-OLED display and lighting applications. The new company, to be based in Tokyo, Japan, will be owned equally by the two parent companies.

The parent companies will channel their existing P-OLED materials research and development activities into the new joint-venture company, which will have access to the P-OLED material intellectual property of the parent companies. Sumitomo recently completed the acquisition of the Lumation business from The Dow Chemical Company (Midland, MI), and will make available, on an exclusive basis, the polyfluorenes technology and IP of the Lumation business to the joint venture. P-OLED materials manufacture will ultimately be based in Japan.

Konarka and Solaris to collaborate

Konarka Technologies (Lowell, MA) and Solaris Nanosciences (Providence, RI) have entered into a joint development agreement to evaluate the performance and efficiency of solar cells made with Konarka’s light-activated power plastic and Solaris’ metal structures.

Solaris’ nanoscale metallic structures will serve as an additive to Konarka’s light-sensitizing materials. The structures act as “nano-antennas” for light-sensitive molecules. Because the structure is much smaller than the wavelength of light, it concentrates, absorbs and potentially transfers the light more efficiently, resulting in enhanced energy conversion efficiencies.

Also in the news . . .

Unaxis Optics (Balzers, Liechtenstein) entered into a licensing agreement with a major Taiwanese optical manufacturing company for the exploitation of its patented ColorWheel technology for digital light processing (DLP)-based projection display applications. . . . Feinfocus (Lawrence, MA), a Comet (Flamatt, Switzerland) business unit and manufacturer of high-resolution x-ray inspection systems, was awarded the Frost & Sullivan Award for Business Development Strategy Leadership. . . . Sofradir (Grenoble, France), a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors for military, space, and industrial applications, announced that its infrared detectors are fully operational in the European military space satellite, Helios IIA. . . . The American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) announced that Headwall Photonics (Fitchburg, MA) was named a winner of the organization’s AE50 Award for its hyperspectral imaging systems for the agricultural industry.

Gail Overton

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