News Briefs

Hamamatsu Photonics KK plans to build two new factory units at its main plant in Hamamatsu (Japan) to exclusively manufacture MOEMS modules and devices.

Expanding

Hamamatsu Photonics KK plans to build two new factory units at its main plant in Hamamatsu (Japan) to exclusively manufacture MOEMS modules and devices. According to the company, the factories will start producing room-temperature infrared sensors, optical communication devices, and other products in October 2006, targeting annual sales of 10 billion yen. Hamamatsu plans to spend 3.65 billion yen on the project, which covers the two factories plus cogeneration facilities. The factories will have a combined floor space of 10,900 sq. meters and bring together some 200 workers that now make MOEMS products in different buildings at the main plant.

SBIR contract

Universal Display Corporation (Ewing, NJ) has been awarded a nine-month, $98,894 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract by the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate an innovative approach to increase the brightness and power efficiency of white OLED lighting using Universal Display’s proprietary PHOLED phosphorescent OLED and OVPD Organic Vapor Phase Deposition (OVPD) technologies. In this program, “High Efficiency White Mesh Phosphorescent OLEDs,” the company will work to increase OLED efficiency and brightness by employing novel emissive layer architectures that are enabled through the use of its proprietary OVPD process technology.

Caltech board

Milton Chang, managing director of Incubic Venture Capital (Mountain View, CA), has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Chang sits on the Boards of a number of companies, including Arcturus Bioscience, OpVista, Rockwell Scientific, and YesVideo.

“I am truly honored by this appointment, considering how I had to work to get through school,” he said. “What I acquired from Caltech during my formative years are problem-solving skills that are universally applicable, even in business situations, and the humility to realize that everyone has some valuable insights to offer.”

European distributor

Micro-Photon-Devices (MPD; Bolzano, Italy) named PicoQuant (Berlin, Germany) to be the sole European distributor of the PDM-series single-photon sensitive avalanche photodiodes (SPAD) developed and manufactured by MPD. This strategic partnership combines the scientific results in the field of SPADs by Prof. Sergio Cova and MPD with PicoQuant’s system integration expertise in the field of fluorescence lifetime imaging and single-molecule spectroscopy. Both companies will closely cooperate and offer solutions for applications such as time-resolved confocal microscopy, fluorescence lifetime measurements and fast timing applications, such as laser pulse characterization.

International standards

Data and telecom networking systems integrated circuit specialist Phyworks (Bristol, England) has received certification for two of its devices to the relevant parts of IEC and EN60825-1 for the safety of laser products. The devices are laser driver post-amplifier ICs, aimed at fiber channel, SONET, and gigabit Ethernet applications, and are in full production. The testing was carried out by the laboratories of the German standards organization, TUV. Phyworks is a VC-funded, fabless, semiconductor supplier specializing in designing and manufacturing ICs for data and telecom networking systems and modules.

CRDS license

Picarro (Sunnyvale, CA) and Stanford University have extended an exclusive licensing agreement covering several Stanford patents on a sensing technology used in Picarro’s trace chemical detection products. The new agreement extends exclusivity on the Stanford patents for a minimum of five more years and as many as eight. It covers eight issued patents and five pending ones. The patents cover cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRDS), which Stanford pioneered and Picarro developed for commercial use in a variety of applications. CRDS uses precision lasers to measure miniscule amounts of specific chemicals in gas or liquid form; it is being used to identify trace chemicals in industrial processes and to study critical changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases. Picarro has incorporated the technology into its ESP-1000 series of trace gas detectors, which are being field tested for monitoring and controlling contaminants in semiconductor manufacturing clean rooms and petrochemical production plants.

Molecular imaging

VisEn Medical (Cambridge, MA), a pioneer in the field of optical molecular imaging, today announced that it has raised $4 million of additional venture capital financing. The round was led by Flagship Ventures and included follow-on investments by Bollard Group and other existing investors. VisEn intends to use the proceeds to support the commercial launch of its initial products later this year, and to develop additional applications of its technologies. The company’s fluorescent Molecular tomography system and optical probe portfolio use near-infrared light to produce quantifiable molecular maps of disease activities deep within the body.

MEMS partners

DALSA Corporation (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) and Xerox Corporation have agreed to collaborate in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology development. The development relationship will combine Xerox’s expertise in MEMS microsystem design with DALSA’s MEMS and high-voltage device manufacturing technologies. According to Ralf Brooks, president of the DALSA Semiconductor division, the collaboration will utilize the company’s integratable MEMS process modules and its ability to integrate CMOS and/or high-voltage circuitry produced from in-house manufactured wafers or from third party deep sub-micron sources.

1-kW diode laser

Alfalight (Madison, WI) announced a research and development contract worth $4.5 million from the Army Research Laboratory (ARL; Adelphi, MD) to develop a high-power, high-brightness multimode diode laser source with an output of 1 kW. Alfalight said the results of this contract are expected to have “significant” impact on fundamental diode source brightness, increase power per laser emitter and produce new techniques for combining the output of several laser emitters into one compact spot.

“This program will provide a new diode-based high-energy laser architecture with important defense and commercial applications,” said Gary Wood, chief of the Electro-optics & Photonics Division at ARL. “The system efficiency and brightness of the laser diode source has the potential to make this suitable for deployment in portable, close-range defense systems.”

New distributors

Optical sensing specialist Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) has appointed two new European distributors. The company has appointed Kutay Laboratory Equipment as distributors in Turkey and LAO Industrial Systems in the Czech Republic. Kutay, established in 1982, has five offices in Turkey. LAO Industrial Systems was established in 1992 and markets laser systems and opto-electronic and measuring equipment for scientific research, educational and commercial applications.

EVLT patent

Diomed (Andover, MA) received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office allowing a patent encompassing a proprietary marked introducer sheath for use with its patented EVLT laser treatment for varicose veins. The new patent, which includes both product and method claims, covers use of an introducer sheath that has graduated markings to aid a physician in moving the laser fiber through the vein at a desired rate during the procedure. Diomed introduced this technique and technology to the market in 2003.

Diomed is currently pursuing patent suits in federal court in Boston against Vascular Solutions, AngioDynamics, Total Vein Solutions, and CoolTouch for infringement of Diomed’s U.S. Patent #6,398,777 covering intraluminal laser treatment of varicose veins. The AngioDynamics and Vascular Solutions patent suits are in the discovery stage, which is scheduled to be concluded in September. The other cases are earlier in the legal process. In a separate suit unrelated to these lawsuits, Diomed is taking action against Vascular Solutions and one of its former employees for trade secret misappropriation related to their introduction and sale of a marked sheath.


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