News Briefs

LED startup

COLED Technologies (Longmont, CO), a young firm developing a new material and process for manufacturing organic LEDs, says it has achieved breakthroughs in electrode modification that will “unlock new possibilities” for electronic displays on devices such as smart phones, flat panels, and handheld PCs. The company, which was formed in 2003, also announced a Series A investment from ITU Ventures that it said will be used for research and development.

“If OLED technologies are to proliferate, we must first address issues related to charge injection, which affect device efficiency, luminance, and lifetime,” said Neil Gough, president and CEO of COLED. “Our company has recently secured several patents to address these issues, and we are now in the process of expanding the company to bring new OLED technologies to market.”

Diode breakthrough

nLight (Vancouver, WA), a manufacturer of high-power semiconductor lasers, reports that it has achieved a record for output power from a single 1-cm InP diode laser bar. The 50% fill-factor bar, mounted on the company’s Cascades microchannel water-cooled package, produced 88 W of continuous-wave (CW) power at 1470 nm. When used as a pump source, the diode laser bar could enable more compact, efficient and less expensive eyesafe diode-pumped solid-state lasers, according to the company.

New distributor

Cree (Durham, NC), a manufacturer of LED solid-state lighting components, signed an agreement with Vossloh-Schwabe Optoelectronic (VS Optoelectronic; Lamp-Lintfort, Germany) to distribute Cree XLamp LEDs in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. VS Optoelectronic is the LED unit of the Vossloh-Schwabe Matsushita Electric Works Group.

OLED pact

Luxell Technologies (Toronto, Canada) signed a joint development agreement with Organic Lighting Technologies (OLT; Austin, TX) to develop an OLED white backlight device for enhancing full-color LCD flat panel displays. According to the companies, OLT’s innovative proprietary organic thin film processes and packaging techniques provide innovative backlighting solutions targeting the high volume manufacture of flat panel displays for mobile phones and other hand held and mobile devices.

Under terms of the agreement, the parties plan to develop engineering prototype and production white OLED backlight devices. Through its in-house thin-film fabrication facility, Luxell will provide its infrastructure and expertise in flat panel display technology to complete the fabrication and testing of the OLED devices. OLT will contribute its white OLED backlight product design for full color small area and mobile phone LCDs.

POLED production

MicroEmissive Displays Group (MED; Edinburgh, Scotland), a designer and manufacturer of low-power microdisplays using organic light emitting polymers (polymer OLED) has commenced production of silicon wafers that will be used to produce patent protected microdisplays at UMC, a leading semiconductor foundry. This silicon production effort follows UMC’s successful fabrication of a CMOS process customized for use in MED’s polymer OLED microdisplays. MED’s microdisplays are aimed at a variety of consumer devices such as viewfinders for digital cameras, night viewers and mobile phones.

Swedish merger

Transmode Systems and Lumentis (both of Stockholm, Sweden) are merging to form a new company under the Transmode identity to further penetrate the growing metro wavelength division multiplexing global equipment market. The merger, effective immediately, makes Transmode a major supplier to telecommunications operators, MSOs, systems integrators, enterprises, utilities, public institutions, and OEM partners worldwide.

Over the past five years, both Transmode Systems and Lumentis have grown rapidly; the new organization has more than 100 customers globally and an established network of value-added resellers. The new company also has considerable financial backing, with Transmode having closed a $15 million financing round last December and Lumentis raising $9 million in June 2004. The total investment to date in both companies is $81 million.

Thermal merger

Axsys Technologies (Rocky Hill, CT) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Diversified Optical Products (DiOP; Salem, NH), a privately held manufacturer of high-end thermal surveillance camera systems and lenses, for $60 million in cash. DiOP is a leading supplier of infrared surveillance solutions to the U.S. Border Patrol, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and various Port Authorities. In addition, DiOP manufactures an array of infrared cameras for law enforcement, firefighting, and commercial perimeter security applications and supplies military-grade thermal targeting and infrared imaging lenses.

Solar cells

Konarka Technologies (Lowell, MA) and Evident Technologies (Troy, NY) are partnering in a collaborative research effort to increase the sensitivity of plastic solar cells to a wider range of the light spectrum. Evident’s proprietary quantum dots, which are high-performance semiconductor nanocrystals active throughout the visible spectrum and into the near-infrared, are being combined with Konarka’s conductive polymers to create ultra-high-performance solar cells that exceed the capabilities of today’s best silicon-based technologies. The quantum dot plastic solar cells could be used for energy, communications, and military applications, such as battlefield or off-grid power generation.

Series C:

NanoOpto (Somerset, NJ) closed on $12 million in Series C round venture financing. The total financing raised by NanoOpto to date is $42.3 million. So far in 2005, NanoOpto has announced a range of new product offerings that includes IR cut-off filters for digital imaging applications, waveplates for optical data storage applications, and optical isolators for communications transceivers.

Optical sensors

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST; Washington, D.C.) and Utah State University (Logan, UT) signed a partnership agreement to develop and calibrate optical sensors for defense, homeland security, weather prediction and climate research. NIST and Utah State have a history of collaboration in measurements and standards for optical instruments, with an emphasis on space-based applications.

Under the new agreement, they will address areas of critical technical importance for improving national security and calibrating instruments used in assessing the extent and consequences of climate change. Other potential areas of collaboration include biotechnology, nanotechnology, and computational chemistry. The new collaboraton is expected to result in postdoctoral programs, joint seminars, shared facilities and sabbatical, faculty and joint appointments, among other programs that will enable NIST’s staff and resources to contribute to the university’s undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral education and research programs.

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