Laser Industry Report

Jan. 1, 2003
Firms agree to cross license technology; TRW lights path to solid-state laser weaponry; Collaboration targets blue microdisplay applications; MORE...

Firms agree to cross license technology

LED manufacturers Lumileds Lighting (San Jose, CA) and Nichia (Anan, Japan) have signed a broad cross-licensing agreement under which the two companies will share intellectual property rights related to their respective LED technologies. Nichia has also entered into a patent cross-license agreement and settlement of litigation concerning gallium nitride-based optoelectronic technology with Cree (Durham, NC). The relationships are intended to avert patent disputes and potential associated supply issues. They are also expected to accelerate the design of more powerful LEDs by enabling the companies to incorporate the other's research and development efforts in the area of new products, and to facilitate the establishment of industry standards that will help promote the adoption of high-power LEDs in the general lighting market.

TRW lights path to solid-state laser weaponry

TRW (Redondo Beach, CA) has received a $21.3 million contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory to develop an electrically powered solid-state laser that puts out 25-kilowatts of laser-beam power. The award is part of the Joint High-Power Solid-State Laser (JHPSSL) program that targets demonstration of the laser by the end of 2004. Military planners see the program as a step on the path to solid-state laser weapons that could be mounted on manned or unmanned aircraft, ships, or ground vehicles. Solid-state lasers simplify the logistics of installing and managing high-energy laser weapons systems. "This program will open the door to many new military applications for high-energy lasers, ranging from electronic warfare tasks such as blinding or destruction of enemy sensors to air defense or ship self-defense," said Jackie Gish, TRW director of directed energy technology and products.

Collaboration targets blue microdisplay applications

A new Thomas Swan Scientific Equipment (TSSEL; Cambridge, England) 7 × 2-in. CCS MOCVD system has been successfully commissioned at Kansas State University (KSU) for the research and development of high efficiency light emitters operating in the ultraviolet, blue and green wavelength regions. KSU researchers have already developed a GaN micro-sized LED that enabled a prototype blue microdisplay based on InGaN/GaN quantum wells with dimensions of 0.5 ¥ 0.5 mm and consisting of 10 ¥ 10 pixels of 12 µm in diameter for applications such as head-up displays (HUD). III-nitride blue micro-size LED arrays may also enable inexpensive optical links. KSU and TSSEL have signed a co-operation agreement for the development of a system producing GaN based device applications, focused on the growth of GaN based emitter and heterojunction field effect transistor (HFET) structures.

Agility, Alcatel Optronics, Bookham sign agreement

Agility Communications (Santa Barbara, CA), Alcatel Optronics (Paris, France), and Bookham Technology (Abingdon, England) have entered a major multisource agreement (MSA) for tunable laser sources. The agreement defines a small form-factor plug-in subsystem, including a tunable continuous-wave (CW) laser with embedded electronics that allows automatic wavelength setting and locking. The standardized products focus on core DWDM applications. Each of the MSA founding companies will separately develop and market fully compatible tunable sources. The products compliant with the MSA agreement include 10- and 20-mW continuous-wave tunable lasers able to cover both C- and L-band applications, with 25- and 50-GHz wavelength spacing.

Alfalight receives venture funding

Alfalight (Madison, WI) has announced its third venture funding round of $15 million, which brings the total investment to $49.1 million. Alfalight is developing several high- power diode-laser products targeting applications in the telecommunications, military and industrial industries. Alfalight's products are based on intellectual property exclusively licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) as well as significantly internally generated IP. It is targeting laser-diode applications that benefit from its high-power aluminum-free technology.

Hassaun A. Jones-Bey

For more business news, subscribe to Optoelectronics Report. Contact Jayne Sears-Renfer at [email protected].

Also in the news . . .

SOPRA (Bois Colombes, France) and Sumitomo Heavy Industry (Tokyo, Japan) have entered a license agreement for the manufacturing and sales of Excimer Laser Annealing Systems based on SOPRA VEL laser technology. . . . BRAGG Photonics (Montreal, Canada) and Tuilaser (Munich, Germany) are collaborating in the launch of a new product family to extend fiber-grating-platform technology to the sensor industry.

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