News Briefs

OLED dissolution

Either way you look at it, the relationship between Eastman Kodak (Rochester, NY) and Sanyo Electric (Tokyo, Japan)-formalized in 2001 via the joint venture SK Display, of which Sanyo owns 66%-is going through a major transformation. According to news reports, under a deal worked out between the two companies, Sanyo will first buy Kodak’s stake in the venture, then shut it down. But Kodak’s take on the situation is that in order to promote commercialization of OLED technology, it will broaden its participation in the industry through research and development, collaborating with manufacturers on design and production and pursuing more opportunities to license its OLED technology. Kodak acknowledges that it is granting full control of SK Display Corp. to Sanyo Electric but will continue as exclusive licensing agent on behalf of Kodak and Sanyo for certain OLED intellectual property.

Back in 2001, both companies agreed to invest US$170 million to establish joint volume production. SK did develop an OLED display for Kodak’s 3.3-megapixel LS 633, but little is known about other OLED products arising from the joint venture.

New VP

Dynasil Corporation of America (West Berlin, NJ), supplier and value added reseller of synthetic fused silica, announces the return of Bruce Leonetti as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, effective January 23, 2006. Leonetti had previously served in the same position with the company for 18 years.

Channel agreement

JDS Uniphase (San Jose, CA) and SyntheSys Research (Menlo Park CA) signed a channel agreement for SyntheSys’ BERTScopeT family of products, creating a comprehensive source of physical layer test solutions for optical components, modules, and network elements. This agreement-which covers Europe, Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan), Canada, and targeted accounts in the United States-gives equipment manufacturers access to a portfolio of physical layer optical test, measurement, and automated solutions for jitter, BERT, stressed eye sensitivity, SONET/SDH transport, and optical parametrics.

LED cross-license

Osram Opto Semiconductors (Munich, Germany) and Avago Technologies (San Jose, CA) signed a limited patent cross-license agreement. Osram has granted Avago a patent license for several patents to manufacture and sell white LEDs with special conversion technology, and surface mount LEDs. Avago has granted Osram a patent license covering LED systems, including systems for projection and flat-panel LCDs. Conversion technology for LEDs enables the production of white LEDs using blue emitting InGaN (indium gallium nitride)-based chips and a suitable fluorescent converter. SMT mounting forms are very small and allow easy processing in industrial series manufacturing. Osram holds patents for several mounting forms and packages for SMT LEDs, and has previously signed licensing agreements with Nichia, Rohm Everlight, Lite On, Stanley, Harvatek, Ya Shin, Vishay, Samsung Electro Mechanics and Lednium.

UK consortium

The Department of Trade and Industry in the UK (London, England) awarded £1.7 million (US$3 million) to a consortium comprising the Centre for Integrated Photonics (CIP), Bookham, Epichem, Loughborough Surface Analysis, the University of Sheffield and the University of Surrey to develop new technologies for uncooled operation of advanced photonic components. The 2.5-year project, called ETOE (Extended Temperature Optoelectronics), has two main thrusts. The first is to develop active devices containing aluminium. This will enable the high temperature operation of a range of advanced devices including fixed frequency and widely tuneable lasers, semiconductor optical amplifiers, superluminescent diodes, and avalanche photo diodes. The second is the development of improved processes for the MOVPE growth of semi-insulating current blocking layers using ruthenium doping to enable higher speed modulation of devices. Results from the project are expected to lead to uncooled operation of high speed, high power lasers and SOAs which will enable drastic reductions in power consumption and allow closer stacking of optical interfaces.

New company

ULO Optics (the new name for Umicore Laser Optics; Stevenage, England) has emerged as an independent company. In business for 25 years, the company specializes in the manufacture of high grade CO2 laser optics and beam delivery equipment. ULO Optics supplies lenses, mirrors, partial reflectors and beam delivery equipment for a wide range of CO2 laser applications. The new managing director is John Barton.

Soldering/inspection

ficonTEC GmbH (Bremen, Germany) received an order for a fully-automated laser bar soldering and inspection system from Alfalight, a manufacturer of innovative, high-quality, high-power diode laser products supplying industrial, telecommunications, and defense markets worldwide. ficonTECs automated laser bar mounting and inspection systems drastically improve the positioning accuracy of laser bars on heat sinks, assure minimal smile of the laser, and help customers to significantly improve yields during the inspection and mounting process by eliminating manual handling of the devices.

Air Force contracts

Aculight (Bothell, WA) won two contracts from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base (Albuquerque, NM) totaling $2.6 million in 2005 and $935,000 in 2006. These related contracts allow Aculight to develop prototype mid-infrared and infrared semiconductor laser transmitters for use in future aircraft defensive systems. The laser transmitters are based on Directorate-developed optically pumped semiconductor laser device technologies. Aculight will incorporate these semiconductor laser devices into mid-infrared and infrared wavelength laser transmitters for use in military flight environments. The performance of these lasers will be demonstrated over military temperature and vibration environments. One application of these lasers is in infrared countermeasures systems which can autonomously detect, track and jam heat-seeking missiles, protecting both military and commercial aircraft.

Beam-steering patent

MetaStable Instruments (St. Peters, MO) received US Patent #6,992,843, covering refractive light beam steerers designed for extensive use. This new technology is being used in an airborne laser radar application and is expected to benefit numerous long duration beam steering applications. It is their third patent on refractive beam steerers and their fifth overall. According to the company, this latest patent strengthens MetaStable’s intellectual property portfolio and its leadership in refractive beam steerers.

IR detection

Raytheon (McKinney, TX) is expected to improve the Marine Corps’ ability to fight 24/7 in all weather conditions by equipping nearly 900 vehicles with detection and targeting systems based on advanced infrared technology. The company recently received $96 million to produce, install and support 416 Improved Thermal Sight Systems (ITSS) for the Corps’ Light Armored Vehicles and $25 million in Firepower Enhancement Program (FEP) funds to outfit another 150 of their 403 M1A1 tanks with equivalent night vision systems. ITSS and FEP are new, compact sighting systems that boost warfighters’ ability to see the battlefield in the day, at night and in adverse conditions such as sand storms, rain, smoke and dust. Each ITSS contains a high-performance 2nd generation forward looking infrared imaging system, a laser rangefinder, an embedded fire control computer and a “far target” location system.

German startup

Alpes Lasers (Neuchâtel, Switzerland) has acquired IPAG (Innovative Processing AG, Darmstadt, Germany), creating a new German company, AL Technologies, to continue IPAG’s business. Besides this, AL Technologies located in Darmstadt/Germany will extend its epi-wafer and coating services for various optoelectronic devices. Alpes Lasers is a leading supplier of quantum cascade lasers for mid and far infrared with applications mostly in chemical sensing applied to medical diagnostic, security, process and environmental monitoring, and directed energy. By acquiring IPAG’s technology and manufacturing capabilities for buried heterostructure semiconductor lasers and MOVPE wafer growth, Alpes Lasers is exploiting the synergies between a manufacturer of bipolar and unipolar lasers and accesses to large volume production capabilities. The company now aims to become a leading supplier of quantum cascade lasers for measurement and test applications and high-speed laser diodes for telecom and datacom applications, including epi-wafer, coating, and process services.

WDM patent

Ibsen Photonics (Copenhagen, Denmark), a supplier of holographic phase masks, transmission diffraction gratings, and optical spectrometer modules based on diffraction gratings, has been granted U.S. Patent # 6,978,062, titled “Wavelength Division Multiplexed Device.” The technology is based on using multiple transmission gratings to provide high dispersion, while at the same time taking advantage of the beam-folding properties of transmission gratings to create compact module designs.

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