imaging & detector industry report

Kodak returns to CMOS business

Oct 1st, 2004

Kodak returns to CMOS business

Eastman Kodak (Rochester, NY) is getting back into the commercial CMOS business with the purchase of National Semiconductor’s imaging business, which develops and manufactures metal oxide semiconductor image-sensor (CIS) devices. As part of this agreement, Kodak will acquire certain assets, including intellectual property and equipment, and plans to hire approximately 50 employees currently supporting National’s Imaging business. Kodak will open a new office for its Image Sensor Solutions organization in Sunnyvale, CA.

The move is interesting in part because Kodak appeared to have gotten out of the CMOS business, choosing to focus instead on CCD image sensors. However, according to Mike DeLuca, manager of product marketing for Kodak Image Sensor Solutions (ISS), Kodak never discontinued its CMOS activity; rather, the company had decided to go back into the lab to further refine its CMOS technology. Kodak has a very strong IP position in CMOS pixel technology but does not have an in-house core competency in some of the mixed-signal expertise. According to DeLuca, this is what the National Semiconductor imaging group brings. Through the acquisition, Kodak now has additional resources and technologies (including advanced mixed-signal circuit design) that will strengthen its ability to design next-generation CIS devices.

Cambridge Display prepares for IPO

Cambridge Display Technology (CDT; Cambridge, England) filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to a proposed initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. CDT’s core offerings involve polymer organic LED (P-OLED) technology originally developed at Cambridge University. CDT wants to establish P-OLEDs as the leading technology for flat-panel displays (FPDs) through its IP portfolio, manufacturing process, engineering, and commercialization partnerships and by licensing its P-OLED and related technologies to FPD OEMs on a nonexclusive basis.

Spire targets terahertz for glucose monitor

Spire (Bedford, MA) won a $99,677 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command based to carry out research toward development of a noninvasive blood-glucose monitor. Spire will synthesize a number of phantom samples containing various glucose concentrations, as well as samples containing potentially competing species such as sucrose and fructose, and measure their optical characteristics with terahertz radiation. The resulting terahertz devices will be incorporated into a demonstration glucose-monitoring instrument during Phase II of the development project.

Spire’s quantum-cascade-laser device consists of hundreds of nanometer-thick gallium arsenide-based layers. Terahertz radiation has wavelengths that are longer than visible and infrared, but shorter than microwaves, and may be the only radiation source that canseparate glucose from other ­substances.

Report pinpoints LED/OLED issues

A report from Frost & Sullivan (London, England) finds that issues related to thermal management and electrostatic discharge in the manufacture of high-brightness light-emitting diodes (HBLEDs) continue to affect market growth. In addition, the absence of a robust supply chain and low production yields are containing the expansion of the organic LED (OLED) market.

According to World Emerging LED Markets, the HBLED market generated revenue of $2.6 billion in 2003 and is expected to reach $5.4 billion in 2007. The OLED market generated $200 million in 2003 and is likely to touch $2.4 billion in 2007. While these numbers are promising, they could be better, especially if key technical and manufacturing issues can be successfully addressed.

Also in the news . . .

Viking Systems (La Jolla, CA) acquired the assets of Lighthouse Imaging (Portland, ME) for a combination of cash and Viking stock. Lighthouse’s products, patent portfolio and services offerings include endoscopic instrumentation, optical measuring systems, medical illumination, fiberoptic imaging technology, and new optical product specification and feasibility studies. . . . Imalux (Cleveland, OH), a medical device company preparing to market its Niris Imaging System based on optical-coherence-tomography technology, raised $3.7 million in the first close of its Series B round of $5 million. . . . Applied Imaging (San Jose, CA) has formed a subsidiary, called Circulating Tumor Cells, to research, develop, patent, and commercialize new technology and products for detecting circulating tumor cells in peripheral blood samples.

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