DuPont Photomasks upgrades China facility

DuPont Photomasks upgrades China facility
DuPont Photomasks Inc. (Round Rock, TX) has announced plans to significantly upgrade the capability of its joint-venture photomask-manufacturing facility, DuPont Photomasks Company Ltd. (Shanghai, China), to better serve the growing semiconductor market in China. Through this initiative, DuPont Photomasks will boast an advanced manufacturing line capable of producing photomasks supporting semiconductor design rules of 180 nm. Improvements to the facility and the export licensing process will begin during this quarter and are a prelude to additional expansion plans that DuPont Photomasks has under development.

"Through our partnership with the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology and our considerable investment in the Shanghai facility over the years, we have a solid foundation of experience and expertise that will enable us to capitalize on the new opportunities presented by the semiconductor market in China," said Peter Kirlin, chairman and CEO of DuPont Photomasks.

Advanced FLIR imagery to enhance flight safety
DRS Technologies Inc. (Parsippany, NJ) has received additional funding to provide engineering development models (EDMs) for the virtual imaging system for approach and landing (VISUAL) supporting U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. Based on advanced forward-looking infrared (FLIR) technology, the implementation of this system is expected to significantly reduce the risk associated with aircraft landings on carriers, especially at night. For the $4.2 million order received by DRS from the U.S. Navy's Naval Air Warfare Center–Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ, the company will continue to build and test EDMs of electro-optical/infrared tracking systems. Work for this award will be accomplished by the company's DRS Sensors & Targeting Systems unit in Anaheim, CA and is expected to be completed by 2004.

"The technology employed for VISUAL is critical for night operations, during maneuvers in severe weather, and at times when radar and radio communications are restricted," said Mark S. Newman, chairman, president, and CEO of DRS Technologies.

Philips and MobilEye collaborate on driver assistance
Philips Semiconductors (San Jose, CA), and MobilEye (Mountain View, CA) are forming a strategic partnership to manufacture a highly integrated system-on-chip solution for automotive driver-assistance applications, taking the first step toward the development of autonomous driving systems. The system-on-chip solutions will deliver computationally-intense applications for real-time visual recognition and scene interpretation, customized for use in intelligent vehicle systems. The chip architecture is designed to maximize cost performance by having a fully fledged application, such as a low-cost version of Adaptive Cruise Control from a single video source, on a single chip. Using sensors, the system can enable intelligent interpretations of the visual field such as detecting vehicles, pedestrians, and road signs to provide an intelligent driver-assistance system. Even though the chip architecture is designed to have a fully fledged application on a single chip, it is sufficiently flexible and programmable to accommodate a wide range of visual processing applications outside of the automobile.

Marine skeleton crystals may help telecom
Scientists from Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs (Murray Hill, NJ) have discovered that chalk-like calcite crystals in the skeletons of marine creatures known as brittlestars act as armor as well as optical receptors for an all-seeing compound eye. Studies of this multifunctional biomaterial may lead to better-designed optical elements for telecommunications networks. The surprising discovery that brittlestars use calcitic crystals to act as optical detectors, in addition to providing skeletal support, was made by an international multidisciplinary team of researchers, comprising scientists from Bell Labs, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and will be described in an article to be published in the August 23 issue of Nature. "This is an excellent example of something we can learn from nature," said Federico Capasso, physical research vice president at Bell Labs. "These tiny calcite crystals are nearly perfect optical microlenses, much better than any we can manufacture today."

Also in the news . . .
Hikari Glass Co. Ltd. (Chiba, Japan) has opened a new office and warehouse in Aliso Viejo, CA. . . . Asahi Glass (Tokyo, Japan) cut its earnings forecast for 2001–2002 to a $67 million loss, the company's first ever net loss for a business year, according to Reuters.

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