The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1615, the Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2007, which amends the federal criminal code to prohibit the aiming of the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft or its flight path.

Bill prohibits pointing lasers at aircraft

The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1615, the Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2007, which amends the federal criminal code to prohibit the aiming of the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft or its flight path. Penalties imposed by the bill include a fine and/or a prison term of up to five years. Since 1990 the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reported more than 500 incidents of pilots being blinded or disoriented by laser beams, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ric Keller (R-FL).

PennWell acquires LEDs Magazine

PennWell (Tulsa, OK), a diversified global media and information company and publisher of Laser Focus World, has acquired LEDs Magazine, a business-to-business digital magazine and Web site ( covering the technology and applications of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Tim Whitaker, who founded LEDs Magazine in 2004, will join PennWell as publisher/editorial director to continue the growth of the magazine in the fast-growing LED marketplace, and will remain based in Bristol, England. He will report to Christine Shaw, senior vice president of PennWell’s Optoelectronics Group, based in Nashua, NH. Shaw, who also serves as group publisher of Laser Focus World magazine, noted that LEDs Magazine has earned its reputation as the leading information resource for the global LED community. “Tim Whitaker is widely recognized in the LED field. His expertise in optoelectronic semiconductor technologies combined with his solid editorial and publishing history will prove to be an asset to PennWell.”

Oree receives $7 million

Oree (Natanya, Israel), a startup that is developing an innovative optical packaging solution for the LED industry, announced the completion of a $7 million Series A round of equity financing. Genesis Partners and GIMV (Antwerp, Belgium), an investment company, participated in the round. Previously, Genesis Partners participated along with private investors in an early seed-financing round of approximately $800,000. Oree also announced that Yair Shoham, partner at Genesis Partners, Alex Brabers, partner at GIMV, and Eyal Harel, formerly the copresident of Orbotech (Yavne, Israel), have joined the company’s board of directors.

Oree’s lighting technology enables the production of more-efficient and more-flexible LED-based lighting systems for liquid-crystal-display (LCD) screens. The company’s technology significantly reduces the production costs of LED-based LCD screens and can be utilized for general illumination in the automotive, home appliance, laptop, and home decorating markets.

USDA awards laser grants for agriculture

Ekips Technologies (Norman, OK) was awarded two Phase I United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) research grants for the application of laser technology to agricultural problems. Ekips is developing disease detection systems that involve measuring gas phase biomarkers in exhaled breath.

In partnership with Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK), Ekips is working on an extended Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II research program for the initial disease application, bovine respiratory disease. The new Phase I application will expand this work to additional biomarkers associated with infectious diseases. Another USDA grant to Ekips, with Rice University (Houston, TX), supports the use of laser-based instrumentation for cattle feed-yard emissions monitoring.

DOE awards SSL grants

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded five SBIR grants targeting advances in solid-state lighting (SSL) technology. The Phase I awards primarily focus on development of LEDs and organic LEDs (OLEDs) and go to Add-Vision (Scotts Valley, CA), Alameda Applied Sciences (San Leandro, CA), Nanomaterials and Nanofabrication Laboratories (Fayetteville, AR), and two awards to Universal Display (Ewing, NJ).

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Also in the news . . .

A cross-licensing agreement enables Taiwan-based Chi Mei EL (CMEL), a subsidiary of Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), to use Eastman Kodak (Rochester, NY) technology for active-matrix OLED modules in a variety of small- to medium-size display applications. . . . Laser Components (Hudson, NH) and OSRAM Opto Semiconductors (Santa Clara, CA) announced a franchise distribution agreement throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico for the distribution of OSRAM’s high-power laser-diode products. . . . JMAR Technologies (San Diego, CA), developer of laser, high-resolution imaging, and photonics technologies, sold a BriteLight laser master oscillator to the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology for the generation of laser plasma used in 3-D air suspension advertisements. . . . Medical company Carl Zeiss Meditec (Jena, Germany) will launch its VisuMax system for laser keratome applications in mid-2007. The system uses a femtosecond fiber laser developed by IMRA America (Ann Arbor, MI).

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