Imaging & Detector Industry Report

Feb. 1, 2006
Spire (Bedford, MA) was awarded a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) project from the Department of Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) to develop a terahertz-based standoff detection imager that uses terahertz “light” to image hidden weapons or explosives on people.

Spire to develop terahertz imager

Spire (Bedford, MA) was awarded a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) project from the Department of Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) to develop a terahertz-based standoff detection imager that uses terahertz “light” to image hidden weapons or explosives on people.

According to Spire, terahertz radiation is yet to be exploited for this and many other applications because of the lack of terahertz radiation sources. Spire’s Bandwidth Semiconductor subsidiary has been developing tiny gallium arsenide-based quantum-cascade lasers using nanotechnology semiconductor material growth to address this market need. In Phase II, Spire will develop this imager in a collaborative effort with the University of Massachusetts (Lowell, MA) Submillimeter Wave Technology Laboratory.

Nivisys receives Homeland Security contract

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Border Patrol has awarded Nivisys Industries (Tempe, AZ) a production contract for thermal-imaging systems. The Department of Homeland Security chose the company’s lightweight thermal-acquisition monocular, which contains a low-power, high-resolution organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) microdisplay from eMagin (Bellevue, WA).

The monocular operates well for extended use on night patrols, with features including instant startup, ruggedness, low power consumption, and crisp imaging regardless of ambient temperature, notes Byron Harding, president of Nivisys. “As with other military programs such as the U.S. Army’s Land Warrior and Mounted Warrior, performance comparisons with legacy display technologies underscore the superiority of OLED microdisplays for thermal imaging and situational awareness,” said Susan Jones, eMagin’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

Jabil and Carl Zeiss partner on displays

Jabil Circuit (St. Petersburg, FL) is developing optical modules as part of a joint venture with Carl Zeiss (Oberkochen, Germany). The partnership will enable Jabil to add optical-module capability to its rapidly growing Display Technologies Business Unit. Jabil will have the majority interest in the joint venture.

Carl Zeiss will provide digital light-processing (DLP) technology know-how to the partnership, including core competencies in the development, technology, marketing, sales, and production of display applications. Jabil will integrate the resources of the joint venture into an established global development and production platform.

Head-mounted display uses Kopin VGA device

Shenzhen Oriscape Electronic Co. (Shenzhen, China) has unveiled a three-dimensional (3-D) stereoscopic head-mounted display (HMD) that incorporates VGA color displays produced by Kopin (Taunton, MA). The HMD provides a high-definition virtual-image equivalent to a 40-in. flat-panel screen at a distance of 7 ft, enabling gamers to experience immersive stereo 3-D at a price that is not prohibitive. The personal-computer compatible headset can be used with many computer games and is now available to consumers. The transmissive Kopin microdisplay products can use simple, thin optics, which are well-suited for compact wearable devices, viewfinders for camcorders and digital still cameras, and most portable consumer, military, and industrial applications.

3M to build LCD facility in Poland

3M (St. Paul, MN) announced its intention to build a liquid-crystal-display (LCD) optical-film manufacturing facility in Poland to support the fast-growing LCD-TV market in Europe. Europe represents the largest market for liquid-crystal-display televisions, according to DisplaySearch. The company plans to purchase a piece of land in Wroclaw near its existing manufacturing operation, which is about 340 km from its offices in Warsaw. “We are building the plant in Wroclaw to be near our customers, such as L.G. Philips LCD, to better serve them and to better serve the largest LCD-TV market in the world,” said Andy Wong, division vice president, 3M Optical Systems Division.

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Also in the news . . .

OmniVision Technologies (Sunnyvale, CA), a supplier of CMOS image sensors, announced that its OV7930 VGA CMOS CameraChip is featured in a video and music entertainment system from one of the largest toy makers in the world. . . . In an agreement reached with Infinitesima (Oxford, England), KLA-Tencor (San Jose, CA) will distribute Infinitesima’s VideoAFM-the first commercially available atomic-force microscope capable of delivering real-time images at video frame rates-in North America and Europe. . . . Biomedical Photometrics (Waterloo, ON, Canada) has closed the private placement of a secured convertible debenture from GrowthWorks Commercialization Fund for continued investment in its wide-field-of-view fluorescence laser-scanning technology and commercialization of the TISSUEscope 2.

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