Imaging & Detector Industry Report

Schering and Royal Philips Electronics (Berlin, Germany) have formed an alliance to research, develop, and commercialize medical equipment and associated contrast agents for optical imaging.

Schering, Philips partner in optical imaging

Schering and Royal Philips Electronics (Berlin, Germany) have formed an alliance to research, develop, and commercialize medical equipment and associated contrast agents for optical imaging.

“We are very excited to team up with a leader in the contrast-agent industry,” said Jouko Karvinen, CEO of Philips Medical Systems.

The alliance’s first project will combine an optical dye called omocianine (SF-64) from Schering for the diagnosis of breast cancer, currently in Phase I trials, with an enhanced mammography device developed by Philips.The companies will invest between $58 million and $117 million into this project. The two firms expect the method to replace biopsies of suspected cases of breast cancer with the less invasive optical imaging scan, which yields results in two hours instead of two weeks.

Agilent acquires Molecular Imaging

Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) has acquired privately held Molecular Imaging (Tempe, AZ), a developer and manufacturer of nanotechnology measurement and imaging tools. Financial details were not disclosed. Among other things, Molecular Imaging is known for its atomic-force microscopes, the principal imaging and measurement instruments used by researchers working in nanotechnology.

“This is a strategic acquisition for Agilent because it complements our core strength of measurement technology while growing our presence in nanotechnology,” said Bob Burns, vice president of the Nanotechnology Measurements Division of Agilent.

Stuart Lindsay and Tianwei Jing of Arizona State University (ASU; Tempe, AZ) founded Molecular Imaging in 1993 and have had a continuous relationship with ASU ever since. Because of these strong ties, Agilent has no plans to move Molecular Imaging operations from the Tempe area.

Cedip acquisition targets surveillance market

Cedip Infrared Systems (Croissy-Beaubourg, France), a supplier of infrared imaging cameras and systems, has acquired PolyTech (Stockholm, Sweden), a manufacturer of gyro-stabilized airborne platforms. The acquisition, details of which were not revealed, marks a further important move for Cedip in its development of IR imaging solutions for military and civilian surveillance markets.

Venus Express pushes imaging limits

A CCD image sensor made by e2v (Chelmsford, England) was recently rocketed into space as part of the European Space Agency’s new fact-finding mission to Venus. The “Venus Express” will study the chemistry and composition of Venus’ hot, high-pressure atmosphere, relying on the e2v device to help it reach its destination.

In addition, Sofradir (Grenoble, France) announced that its 320 × 256-pixel mid-wave IR mercury cadmium telluride detector is deployed in the craft’s solar-occultation IR instrument, one of three data channels being used in an imaging spectrometer to measure radiation of Venus’ atmosphere at longer IR wavelengths.

The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at Venus in April 2006.

Kopin wins night-vision contract

The largest U.S. manufacturer of microdisplays for mobile consumer and military electronics, Kopin (Taunton, MA), was awarded a production contract from ITT Industries Night Vision (ITT) for display subsystems to be used in the new generation of night-vision equipment for the soldier, the U.S. Army’s Enhanced Night Vision Goggle (ENVG) system.

The ENVG provides the soldier with combined images from an image intensifier and a thermal imager. The thermal scene is displayed on Kopin’s CyberDisplay SVGA microdisplay.

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Also in the news . . .

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a 3.5-year, $9.5 million program to Erich Ippen, a member of MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE; Cambridge, MA) faculty, for a project titled “Optical Arbitrary Waveform Generation for Ultrahigh Resolution Sensing and Imaging.”. . . Raytheon Company Network Centric Systems (McKinney, TX) awarded DRS Technologies (Parsippany, NJ) an $18 million contract to produce optically improved, Standard Advanced Dewar Assembly (SADA) II assemblies for use on the U.S. Army’s M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks. . . . FLIR Systems (North Billerica, MA) will manufacture infrared visual sensor systems for a $50 million U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center contract. . . . Unaxis Optics (Balzers, Lichtenstein) and Premier Image Technology, a digital-still-camera manufacturer based in Taiwan, have signed a global licensing agreement on patents owned by Unaxis Optics related to ColorWheels and their use in color sequential projectors. . . . Luminetx (Memphis, TN), which has developed an IR vein-imaging system dubbed the VeinViewer, has secured $11 million in Series A preferred financing.

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