News Briefs

Photonics consortium fund: The Carolinas Photonics Consortium (CPC; Clemson, SC) announced the CPC Pilot Funding Program that will award five emerging photonics projects with seed funding for commercialization and business development support.

Photonics consortium fund: The Carolinas Photonics Consortium (CPC; Clemson, SC) announced the CPC Pilot Funding Program that will award five emerging photonics projects with seed funding for commercialization and business development support. The five CPC member institutions are Clemson University, Duke University, North Carolina State University, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Western Carolina University. Proposals will be accepted from researchers at the five campuses. Jeff Conley, CPC’s interim director said, “This seed-funding program puts that effort in motion by identifying the first five technologies to receive maturation support.” More than $300 million has been invested from state and federal funds in these units over the last five years, making CPC the largest concentration of photonics-based resources in the U.S.

Camera LEDs: Philips Lumileds (San Jose, CA) has delivered more than 100 million units of the LUXEON Flash power light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to camera phone manufacturers worldwide and enabled an entirely new segment. The functional flash market for camera phones was established less than three years ago when the company released its first generation LUXEON Flash. “Prior to the introduction of LUXEON Flash, there were no solutions available that provided the illumination necessary to produce quality images in low light environments and users were limited to taking daytime pictures,” said Richard Weiss, VP Digital Imaging Business. “Only LUXEON Flash power LEDs provide the light output for video and still imaging without sacrificing battery life.”

DARPA imaging contract: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) selected Goodrich Corp. (Charlotte, NC) for the continued development of indium gallium arsenide visible and shortwave-infrared focal-plane arrays for use in passive night-vision imaging systems. According to Edward Hart, VP and GM of Goodrich’s Sensors Unlimited Inc. (SUI; Princeton, NJ) team, “Our team has successfully completed the first phase of this contract and we now look forward to taking the technology to the next level. The focus of this next phase of development will be to raise the resolution of the camera we developed in the first phase and make the imager more sensitive, allowing for better night-vision capabilities.”

Navy sensor order: FLIR Systems (Portland, OR) was awarded a $20 million order from the U.S. Navy for a variant of its SeaFLIR III stabilized, lightweight multi-sensor systems. This order was made pursuant to a previously awarded five-year, $75 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. SeaFLIR III is a multi-sensor thermal imaging system that operates from maritime, surface and airborne platforms. Work on the delivery order will begin immediately and be performed over the next year in FLIR’s Boston, MA production facility. Including this order, FLIR will have delivered over 250 systems in the SeaFLIR product line to the Navy community.

Laser scanning facility: GKS Inspection Services (Plymouth, MI), a provider of 3-D laser and terrestrial scanning services since 1981, opened a laser scanning and inspection service bureau in the Netherlands, GKS Inspection Services Netherlands. The GKS Inspection Services Netherlands team consists of over 30 experienced engineers based in Ede providing reverse engineering and inspection services and is positioned to serve customers all through the European Union. They have also opened an office in Taiwan, GKS Inspection Services Taiwan.

Semiconductor research grant: AmberWave Systems (Salem, NH), developer of advanced technologies for semiconductor manufacturing, and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT; Rochester, NY) were jointly awarded a three-year research grant from the National Science Foundation to allow the two organizations to explore the integration of compound semiconductor devices on silicon using an AmberWave technique called aspect ratio trapping (ART), a technology that may open the door to faster, more powerful chips for silicon-based photonics and improved photovoltaic cells. “This award plays on the value of industry and university collaboration and the demonstrated strengths of AmberWave in the area of epitaxial thin-film electronic materials, and of RIT’s microelectronics researchers in the area of integrating novel materials into mainstream silicon microelectronics devices to enhance performance,” said Donald Boyd, VP for research at RIT.

PDP revenue: According to market analysis firm iSuppli (El Segundo, CA), plasma display panels (PDPs) are not keeping pace with liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Although falling average selling prices are enabling PDPs to enjoy a growth phase, those same price declines will cause market revenue to fall in 2009 following a peak in 2008. Global PDP revenue will rise to $8.6 billion in 2007, up 11.8 percent from $7.7 billion in 2006. Due to increased competition and continuous price pressure, the market will then undergo a revenue contraction, declining to $8.7 billion by 2011. The market appears more attractive from a unit perspective, with shipments reaching 23.6 million units by 2011, rising at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.6 percent since 2006.

Soil analysis: Thermo Fisher Scientific (Cambridge, England) announced that Midwest Laboratories (Omaha, NE) has chosen the Thermo Scientific iCAP 6000 Series of ICP emission spectrometers to perform soil analyses in its agricultural laboratory. The iCAP 6000 Series allows Midwest Laboratories to process approximately 2,000-3,000 samples per day, evaluating the nutrient levels of soil while advising farmers on the type and amount of fertilizer to use to achieve and maintain optimum growth levels. The iCAP 6000 Series was awarded the Gold Award at the Instrument Business Outlook (IBO) Design Awards 2006 for excellence in industrial design and it also received an honorable mention at the Editor’s Choice Awards at PITTCON 2006.

Purchase fibers online: Nanoparticle fiber company Liekki (Lohja, Finland) launched an online purchase feature option at www.liekki.com. The option enables customers to order Liekki active fibers, passive fibers, and fiber components, optical engine modules, and design software, quickly and conveniently. The online purchase process is based on a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol and guarantees secured communications and transactions. The feature is intended for small orders of standard Liekki products. For large or custom orders, Liekki asks that customers continue to contact their sales support group or request a quote for the required products and services.

Semiconductor lithography: SUSS MicroTec (Munich, Germany), supplier of manufacturing and test equipment for the semiconductor and related markets, announced that HD MicroSystems-a joint venture between Hitachi Chemical and DuPont Electronic Technologies-installed the SUSS advanced 200 mm Gamma Production Coat/Develop Cluster to support the company’s polyimide and PBO material technologies. “Lithography systems from SUSS MicroTec have long been acknowledged as the market leading systems for wafer level packaging applications,” says Rolf Wolf, managing director, SUSS MicroTec Lithography Division. “We have had a very good relationship with HD MicroSystems, during the course of supporting numerous production installations for mutual customers.”

Optical amplifier award: Sandia National Laboratories and the Naval Research Laboratory were honored with one of this year’s R&D 100 Awards for their development of mode-filtered optical amplifier technology. The awards aim to recognize the “100 most technologically significant new products” of the year. Sandia’s award application cites Nufern (East Granby, CT) as one of the first companies to bring a commercial product to market based on the invention. The paper describes a 180 W mode-filtered fiber laser produced by Nufern, with electrical efficiency 7 times greater than a traditional Nd:YAG laser. Nufern has licensed the patent related to this mode-filtering technology from the U.S. Government, and is also the leading manufacturer of large mode area optical fibers useful for mode filtering.

Tunable-laser funding: Syntune AB (Kista, Sweden), developer of single-chip widely tunable lasers, closed a second round of financing of $7.1 million. “This round of investment enables us to ramp production more quickly, as well as grow our customer base for both our first generation of tunable products as well as our second generation 10 Gb/s tunable transmitter product,” said Patrik Evaldsson, CEO of Syntune. Syntune has chosen premier manufacturing partners, such as CyOptics, to insure a consistently reliable product. Cyoptics’ products are manufactured on mature processes both in chip fabrication and packaging. According to CIR’s estimates, tunable lasers will be the fastest growing major segment of the components market, reaching almost one billion (U.S.) dollars by 2012.

Maverick laser-guided missile: Having published an urgent operational need for a close air support weapon to defeat high-speed moving targets with minimal collateral damage, the U.S. Air Force has expressed interest in re-establishing production of Raytheon Company’s laser-guided Maverick missile, an air-to-ground weapon that can meet the service’s needs in the near-term. The Air Force currently operates with television- and infrared-guided versions of Maverick. Until now, only the Navy and Marine Corps have employed the laser-guided version. The missile has launch-and-leave capability that enables a pilot to fire it and immediately take evasive action or attack another target as the missile guides to the target.

LCD record shipments: DisplaySearch (Austin, TX), display market research and consulting firm, released its July liquid-crystal display (LCD) panel shipments results and announced that LCD TV panel shipments hit an all-time high with 7.2 million units shipped, up 6% month over month and 72% year over year. In addition, notebook PC panel shipments increased 7% month over month and grew an impressive 69% year over year to reach a new milestone of more than 10 million units in July. “Despite worries that U.S. consumer spending might decline due to weakness in the housing market and recent credit crunch, July was a strong month for the LCD industry-indicating that there is still a strong demand for LCD TVs and notebook PCs,” noted Jin Kim, DisplaySearch’s director of TFT LCD Market Research.

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