Imaging & Detector Industry Report

NEC establishes TFT LCD joint venture; Military sensing contract focuses on infrared; GE combines MRI and spectroscopy; MORE...

NEC establishes TFT LCD joint venture

NEC (Tokyo, Japan) and SVA have established a thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT LCD) joint-venture company in Shanghai, China, called Shanghai SVA NEC Liquid Crystal Display. The new company will plan, develop, and manufacture TFT LCD panels and modules for PCs, monitors, and TVs, while targeting China's huge market for sales. According to the companies, the joint venture is the first facility in China that will be capable of handling every aspect of TFT LCD manufacturing from the initial array and cell process to the final production line phase. In April 2003 NEC established a new company, NEC LCD Technologies, which develops, designs, manufactures, and sells color LCDs.

Military sensing contract focuses on infrared

DRS Technologies (Parsippany, NJ) received a $8.5 million contract to develop a new integrated focal-plane array and adaptive-filter technology for improved day and night infrared sensing of targets to be used for surveillance and reconnaissance on a variety of military platforms. The contract supports the Adaptive Focal Plane Array program, established by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Microsystems Technology Office.

The initial Phase I research and development contract, valued at $3 million, was awarded to DRS by the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Work to develop a proof of concept will be performed by the company's DRS Infrared Technologies (Dallas, TX) and is expected to be completed in April 2005.

GE combines MRI and spectroscopy

GE Medical Systems (Waukesha, WI) has introduced a noninvasive diagnostic system to detect and evaluate the location, size, aggressiveness, and stage of prostate cancer by combining spectroscopy with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The MRI part of the PROSE (prostate spectroscopy and imaging examination) system shows physicians the location of the potentially cancerous tissue, while the spectroscopy portion measures the levels of chemicals in the prostate tissue to determine whether cancer is present and to evaluate the cancer's staging and aggressiveness. Traditionally, patients tested for prostate cancer first undergo a digital rectal exam, which has limitations in determining cancer, and/or a blood test called the prostate-specific antigen test.

"For the first time, critical information about the staging and the aggressiveness of prostate tumors can be evaluated noninvasively," said Fergus Coakley, MD, Department of Radiology, University of California–San Francisco. "In addition, the new system aids in treatment planning."

Laser mammography coupled with dyes

A laser-based breast-imaging system is being coupled with fluorescent dyes to determine whether using fluorescent compounds in this manner can improve the ease and accuracy of detecting breast cancer, according to an agreement between Schering (Berlin, Germany) and Imaging Diagnostic Systems (Fort Lauderdale, FL). Imaging Diagnostic Systems' CTLM (computed tomography laser mammography) system combines solid-state laser technology and patented algorithms to create three-dimensional cross-sectional images of the breast in a noninvasive examination that does not involve radiation or breast compression. The fluorescent dyes were developed by Schering, which is evaluating the capability of the dyes combined with optical mammography to detect breast cancer.

Also in the news . . .

Universal Display (Ewing, NJ), a developer of organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) technologies for flat-panel displays, lighting, and other optoelectronic applications, has been awarded a $730,000 Small Business Innovation Research Phase II contract by the U.S. Army Communication Electronics Research and Development Engineering Center (Ft. Monmouth, NJ) to further the development of its flexible, phosphorescent OLED technology on durable metal foil for military applications. . . . The Link Simulation and Training division of L-3 Communications (Broomfield, CO) awarded a contract to Zygo (Middlefield, CT) and Optical Research Associates (Pasadena, CA) to develop and deliver a helmet-mounted display for flight simulation systems. The contract provided for the team of Zygo and Optical Research Associates to deliver prototype helmets in 2004 using high-resolution display and imaging concepts that significantly enhance mission realism for greatly improved training and increased combat-readiness. . . . The U.S. Patent and Trademark office issued patent 6,657,224, "Organic Light Emitting Diode Devices Using Thermostable Hole-Injection and Hole-Transport Compounds," to eMagin (Hopewell Junction, NY) for invention of a device incorporating a new class of organic light-emitting-diode materials that enable higher-resolution flat-panel displays with lower power consumption and increased operating temperature range.

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