OPTICS INDUSTRY REPORT

Twenty-five years ago, Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) manufactured the world’s first compact disc (CD) at a Philips factory in Langenhagen, near Hannover, Germany.

Oct 1st, 2007

The compact disc turns 25

Twenty-five years ago, Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) manufactured the world’s first compact disc (CD) at a Philips factory in Langenhagen, near Hannover, Germany. The invention of the CD ushered in a technological revolution in the music industry, as CDs-with their superior sound quality and durability-marked the beginning of the shift from analog to digital music technology. The CD helped pave the way for the launch of the DVD and most recently the introduction of Blu-ray optical media.

As early as 1979, Philips and Sony set up a joint task force of engineers to design the new digital audio disc. Philips estimates that over the 25 years, more than 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide.

CPC announces funding program

The Carolinas Photonics Consortium (CPC; Clemson, SC) announced the CPC Pilot Funding Program that will award five emerging photonics projects with seed funding for commercialization and business development support. The five CPC member institutions are Clemson University, Duke University, North Carolina State University, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Western Carolina University. Proposals will be accepted from researchers at the five campuses. “This seed-funding program puts that effort in motion by identifying the first five technologies to receive maturation support,” said Jeff Conley, CPC’s interim director. More than $300 million has been invested from state and federal funds in these units over the last five years.

RIT and AmberWave win semiconductor grant

AmberWave Systems (Salem, NH), developer of advanced technologies for semiconductor manufacturing, and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT; Rochester, NY) were jointly awarded a three-year research grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the integration of compound semiconductor devices on silicon using an AmberWave technique called aspect-ratio trapping (ART), a technology that may open the door to faster, more powerful chips for silicon-based photonics and improved photovoltaic cells.

“This award plays on the value of industry and university collaboration and the demonstrated strengths of AmberWave in the area of epitaxial thin-film electronic materials, and of RIT’s microelectronics researchers in the area of integrating novel materials into mainstream silicon microelectronics devices to enhance performance,” said Donald Boyd, vice president for research at RIT.

China MEMS industry moves to high value

A report entitled MST/MEMS Activities in China-Industry and Key Research Centres provides an overview of the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and microsystems (MST) community in China. Published by enablingMNT (Berlin, Germany) and associate partner Shanghai Titan Consulting (Shanghai, China), the report indicates that the Chinese MST/MEMS industry is aiming at the semiconductors, automotive, and telecommunications markets, but efforts to penetrate the medical, industrial, and consumer markets are also evident. The analysis says there are two strong drivers behind the Chinese MEMS industry: foreign companies starting joint ventures or subsidiaries and national/regional government investment.

Thermo Fisher system chosen for soil analysis

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Cambridge, England) announced that Midwest Laboratories (Omaha, NE) chose the Thermo Scientific iCAP 6000 Series of ICP emission spectrometers to perform soil analyses in its agricultural laboratory. The iCAP 6000 Series allows Midwest Laboratories to process approximately 2000 to 3000 samples per day, evaluating the nutrient levels of soil while advising farmers on the type and amount of fertilizer to use.

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Also in the news . . .

SUSS MicroTec (Munich, Germany), supplier of manufacturing and test equipment for the semiconductor and related markets, announced that HD MicroSystems-a joint venture of Hitachi Chemical and DuPont Electronic Technologies-installed the SUSS advanced 200 mm Gamma Production Coat/Develop Cluster to support HD’s polyimide and other material technologies. . . . Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) received a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) award to participate in a multi-university research center to be called the Investigate Multi-physics Modeling and Performance Assessment-driven Characterization and Computation Technology (IMPACT) Center that will develop a computer-aided-design (CAD) environment for microelectromechanical systems and nanoelectromechanical systems. . . . Brian Schulkin, a member of the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute won the first Lemelson-Rensselaer $30,000 student prize for inventing an ultralight, handheld terahertz spectrometer.

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