Imaging & Detector Industry Report

Oct. 1, 2001
Papyron to enter the flexible display market; Leica and Matsushita collaborate on digital cameras; eMagin's colors deepen...

Papyron to enter the flexible display market
Papyron (Groningen, The Netherlands), a startup, is set to commercialize a new technology for flexible displays. The company believes that its pixelated foils are ideal for mass production. Based on polymer thin-film materials available at low cost, the displays can contain either electrophoretic inks or light-emitting materials. Microscopic channels in the film become pixels when filled by active materials, which can be applied either by a simple squeegee blade for monochrome displays or by ink-jet printing for full-color displays. The ink-jet process is being developed with an undisclosed Japanese partner. Papyron will work with partner companies that will supply packaging and electronics. High-volume roll-to-roll manufacturing methods are planned.

Leica and Matsushita collaborate on digital cameras
Leica Camera AG (Solms, Germany) and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Osaka, Japan; producer of Panasonic brand products) have agreed to collaborate in penetrating the global market of digital still cameras (DSCs). The two companies will integrate the optical technology of Leica with the advanced digital audio-video technology of Panasonic. These multiple new DSC models, which will carry both the Panasonic and Leica brand names, will be available starting in autumn 2001.

eMagin's colors deepen
eMagin Corp. (Hopewell Junction, NY), a producer of organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) on silicon displays, has created OLED video microdisplays with a balanced full-color spectrum exceeding that of commercially available liquid-crystal notebook displays. The broader-color-spectrum OLED microdisplay incorporated in a prototype binocular entertainment headset was demonstrated in July at SPIE's International Symposium on Optical Science and Technology (San Diego, CA). Until now, the company's OLED color range and chromaticity was close to that of a cathode-ray tube (CRT); it now exceeds the standard of the CRT's color saturation in red and green and is closing in on the blue. Wireless Internet viewers and wearable computers are two potential applications.

Roper Industries buys Media Cybernetics
Roper Industries (Bogart, GA) has completed its acquisition of the operating assets of Media Cybernetics L.P. (Silver Spring, MD). The purchase price was approximately $17 million in cash. Media, which had a trailing twelve-month revenue of $9.6 million, is an image-processing developer for scientific and industrial applications, and will join Roper's digital-imaging business group within its analytical instrumentation division. Media's metrology and analysis software will complement Roper Industries' imaging hardware, said Derrick Key, president, CEO, and chairman of Roper.

Mitsubishi invests in Vitex, a startup
Mitsubishi Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) has invested $15 million in Vitex Inc. (San Jose, CA). A 1999 spinoff of global technology development and commercialization giant Battelle (Columbus, OH), Vitex is developing a family of transparent-barrier plastic films for plastic flat-panel display screens, in particular those intended for organic light-emitting diode displays. The films block moisture and oxygen as does the traditional glass display screen, but in combination with plastic remain light and flexible. Uses include mobile phones and laptop computers. The investment by Mitsubishi will provide Vitex with the capital to continue its product and process development; Vitex also gains access to Mitsubishi's commercial network, helping the company penetrate the vast Japanese display market.

Also in the news . . .
Texas Instruments (Dallas, TX) has made available a new version of its digital micromirror device optimized for front-projection applications. The device is intended for use in home theaters. . . . DRS Technologies Inc. (Parsippany, NJ) will acquire the Sensors and Electronic Systems business (Anaheim, CA) of The Boeing Company for $84 million, subject to adjustment. The transaction is expected to close during DRS's fiscal third quarter and will be financed through bank borrowings.

John Wallace

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