Laser Industry News

by Hassaun A. Jones-Bey

Perjury allegation enters blue-LED patent scrape
Just weeks before Shuji Nakamura was scheduled to receive the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Engineering for the inventiveness that led to a highly efficient blue-light-emitting diode, a federal judge recommended that he be prosecuted for perjury in a high-stakes LED patent battle between Nakamura's former employer, Nichia (Anan, Japan), and the company that the eminent University of California, Santa Barbara, researcher currently consults for, Cree Inc. (Durham, NC). According to Science, the presiding judge over the Cree-Nichia case, James Fox of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, reviewed testimony from last November and wrote a letter to prosecutors on March 15 stating that Nakamura admitted he had "intentionally submitted false data in conjunction with the applications for [Nichia's U.S.] patents."

ISMT purchases its first EUV microstepper
International Sematech (ISMT; Austin, TX) has a purchase order for an MS-13 extreme ultraviolet (EUV) microstepper, to be built by Exitech (Oxford, England) and installed at ISMT during the fourth quarter of 2003. It will incorporate a dense plasma focus discharge source from Cymer (San Diego, CA), with a wavelength of 13.5 nm and a 0.3-NA EUV imaging lens designed and built by an EUV LLC team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, and Carl Zeiss Semiconductor Manufacturing Technologies AG (Oberkochen, Germany). The tool is targeted to resolve minimum feature sizes of 35 nm and smaller, and will be used to develop EUV photoresists as part of ISMT's efforts to develop the necessary infrastructure for EUV lithography.

Rockwell Scientific licenses coatings from Thales Optical
Rockwell Scientific Company (RSC; Thousand Oaks, CA) has obtained a license from Thales Optics (North Wales) for thin-film optical coating technology to be used in RSC's laser protective eyewear products for defense and commercial applications. Thales' technology will complement other optical technologies and coating processes developed by RSC to ensure a comprehensive approach to eyewear production. The technologies will initially be used as part of a four-year $5 million contract RSC has with the Department of Defense to establish a domestic manufacturing capability to produce thin-film coatings for protective eyewear.

Wearable displays to be used in construction
Microvision (Bothell, WA) has signed a reseller distribution agreement with Laser Control (Bloomington, MN) for the Nomad Personal Display System. Laser Control will market the Nomad wearable display as part of its line of surveying and measurement instruments used by professional surveyors, civil engineers, and the construction industry. Wireless GPS and laser surveying instruments generate, capture, and display site-specific coordinates and contour lines that contractors refer to in order to ensure accuracy throughout planning, surveying, site preparation, and construction, and to minimize the potential for costly mistakes. Grader drivers wearing the Nomad system will be able to keep their eyes on the blade and see contour lines superimposed over their view of the construction site, allowing them to avoid running over surveyor's stakes or making bad cuts (which have to be redone). "We're very excited about the prospects for the Nomad System in the construction and engineering field," said Bruce Ridley, Microvision's marketing manager for industrial applications.

Also in the news . . .
Fujitsu Quantum Devices (Yamanashi, Japan) and Sumitomo Electric Industries (Osaka, Japan) have entered a multisource agreement for a 10-Gbit/s transmission laser-diode module that enables the conversion of electric signals to optical signals in medium-to-long distance 10-Gbit/s optical fiber networks. . . . Intel (Santa Clara, CA), Picolight (Boulder, CO), and Infineon Technologies North America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Infineon Technologies, have established a multisource agreement to define a smaller, more cost-effective form factor for 10-Gbit fiberoptic modules optimized for enterprise, storage-area network, and switching-center market segment applications. . . . For the year 2001, revenues at JMAR Technologies (San Diego, CA) were $18.7 million compared with $19.6 million for 2000. The 5% year-to-year decline in overall revenues was attributable to a 45% decrease in sales of the company's positioning and metrology products at JMAR Precision Systems (JPSI) and a 20% decline in sales of semiconductor products and processes at JMAR Semiconductor (JSI). The declines in revenues at JPSI and JSI were partially offset by a 87% increase in revenues from the x-ray lithography business.

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