News Briefs

Solid-state lighting funding: U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the investment of up to $6.4 million, including $4.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), for four projects designed to advance R&D of next-generation high-efficiency lighting:

Solid-state lighting funding: U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the investment of up to $6.4 million, including $4.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), for four projects designed to advance R&D of next-generation high-efficiency lighting: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO) to demonstrate the viability of high-bandgap gallium indium phosphide alloys for synthesis of inexpensive, efficient green LED devices ($1.8 million); Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, WA) to develop new, stable materials for high-efficiency blue OLEDs ($1.0 million); Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, NM) to improve the efficiency of green LEDs by growing on gallium nitride substrates ($1.8 million); and U.S. ARMY Research Laboratory (Adelphi, MD) to exploit the negative polarization charge at the active region to achieve efficient green LEDs ($1.8 million).

Laser strikes ground target: Boeing and the U.S. Air Force on Aug. 30 defeated a ground target from the air with the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, demonstrating ATL’s first air-to-ground, high-power laser engagement of a tactically representative target. During the test, the C-130H aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, NM and fired its high-power chemical laser through its beam control system while flying over White Sands Missile Range, NM. The beam control system acquired the ground target--an unoccupied stationary vehicle--and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATL’s battle management system. The laser beam’s energy defeated the vehicle.

Nanoplasmonic device funding: Computers that use light to process large amounts of data faster than ever before are just one of many potential applications of a new $9.8 million dollar research program at Queen’s University Belfast and Imperial College London, launched September 1, 2009. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is funding the two universities to establish a world-leading research program on the fundamental science of ‘nanoplasmonic devices’--tiny nanoscale metal structures that guide and direct light. Professor Stefan Maier, who leads the research team at Imperial, said, “This is an exciting step towards developing computers that use light waves, not electrical current, to handle data and process information. In the future these optical computers will provide us with more processing power and higher speed.”

Laser-beam-delivery company loss and gain: Laser Mechanisms (Novi, MI), which provides laser-beam delivery components and articulated arm systems for lasers in industrial applications, is mourning the sudden loss of laser industry veteran and long-time employee Glenn Golightly, who died unexpectedly on August 5, 2009 in his home state of Michigan; he was 59. He served as Laser Mechanisms’ GM industrial operations from 2001 to 2007 and more recently held the position of managing director Pacific Rim. Laser Mechanisms’ new 28,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and warehousing facility in Novi, MI is nearing completion with an expected occupancy date of October 1, 2009. Directly adjacent to Laser Mechanisms’ world headquarters, the new structure will house industrial contract manufacturing, inventory, and warehousing.

OEM engineering services: Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL), provider of miniature photonics and spectroscopy systems, formed a dedicated OEM engineering group to provide integration support to optimize and expedite the commercialization efforts of both new and established OEM customers. The services are extended to all OEMs whether they contract directly with Ocean Optics or purchase through local distribution channels. The OEM team brings together expertise across disciplines, including PhD level optical and biochemistry engineering; physics; electrical engineering; mechanical engineering; and software development. With extensive experience in optical design and applications such as blood chemistry analysis, Ocean Optics says the team is poised to address any mechanical, software, optical, or electronic integration need.

Retrofit services: Fiber-laser manufacturer IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA) is offering new retrofit services to help customers replace older production lasers with energy-efficient fiber lasers from IPG. An experienced team, including engineers familiar with system integration, including beam delivery, application development, controllers, robots, software and safety, will provide the new service from IPG’s Operations in the U.S., Germany, China, and Japan. Bill Shiner, VP Industrial Markets, IPG, said, “This new service allows those companies to utilize their existing motion system or transfer line while obtaining the most reliable and cost-effective laser technology with minimal risk and down time.” IPG now has an energy savings calculator on its website that calculates potential electrical energy savings from using a fiber laser.

Pico projector microdisplay order: Syndiant (Dallas, TX) received its first commercial order for the SYL2010--an SVGA (800 x 600 pixels) and WVGA (854 x 480 pixels) microdisplay for pico projectors. The initial purchase order, for tens of thousands of units, was placed by Shanghai Sanxin Technology Development Co. (SSTDC) for use in the world’s first laser pico projector to ship in high volume. “Syndiant’s technology enables our world leading laser projectors to provide a unique combination of resolution, small size and superior color quality with the brightest image of any pico projector yet announced. The decision to select Syndiant was made after thorough examination of potential technology partners,” said Ying Li Fu, chairman of SSTDC.

UV LEDs gain traction: According to research group Yole Development (Lyon, France), ultraviolet (UV) LEDs are challenging the traditional UV lamp technology and making headway due to the compactness, lower cost of ownership, and environment-friendly composition of LEDs. By 2015, the firm estimates the UV LED market will reach $250 million. Bivar (Irvine, CA), an LED provider, says it has seen an increase in the adoption of its UV LED product family for applications that until recently relied upon fluorescent UV lights. After launching its UV LED series in 2008, Bivar has gained traction with medical equipment manufacturers looking for UV LEDs for phototherapies for the skin, dental devices, hand-held medical devices, and imaging.

Stimulus stimulates projection market: Research firm iSuppli (www.isuppli.com) says that the U.S. stimulus program has increased sales of projectors to the American education market. Shipments of projectors in North America rose 12.4% in Q2 to 440,322 units, up from 391,646 in Q1. This contrasts with a 0.4% sequential decline in global projector shipments during the quarter. “The U.S. education market is benefiting from Title IID funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), with about $650 million appropriated for the use of new or existing technologies to improve academic achievement for elementary and secondary schools,” said Sanju Khatri, principal analyst, projection and large screen displays, for iSuppli. “As the funds have become available in July, education spending on projectors in the United States is now on the rise.”

Multimode fiber standard: The OM4 standard for high-bandwidth, 50-micron core diameter optical fiber has been approved by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Corning’s (Corning, NY) ClearCurve OM4 multimode fiber and InfiniCor eSX+ multimode fiber meet the new OM4 standard for laser-optimized, high-bandwidth, 50-micron fibers approved by the TIA in August 2004. David Velasquez, head of global product line strategy and operations, Corning Optical Fiber, said, “We are pleased that the industry has reached consensus on the specific requirements for OM4 and we have now formalized our [ClearCurve OM4 and InfiniCor eSX+] product offerings in relation to the new standard.”

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