IMAGING & DETECTOR INDUSTRY REPORT

Arizona State University (ASU; Tempe, AZ) recently established the Advanced Photovoltaics Center (ASU-APC), an initiative supported by state funding and the university administration.

ASU opens Advanced Photovoltaics Center

Arizona State University (ASU; Tempe, AZ) recently established the Advanced Photovoltaics Center (ASU-APC), an initiative supported by state funding and the university administration. The center is directed by Ghassan E. Jabbour, professor in the School of Materials and of the Flexible Display Center at ASU. “The goal of the Center is to develop new technology avenues for alternative energy research and development,” said Jabbour. “Our road map also includes the generation of intellectual property and spin-off companies in related areas.”

The center will cover inorganic, organic, and hybrid solar cells. Members and affiliates of the ASU-APC represent disciplines ranging from materials and device development to industrial-type testing and verification. The team also has large-scale flexible-device manufacturing capabilities and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including precision instrumentation donated in part from Optronic Laboratories (Orlando, FL). This synergy positions ASU to be in the forefront in the national and global acceleration of the development of efficient and low-cost solar cells.

Border imaging contract goes to FLIR

FLIR Systems (Portland, OR) was awarded a contract from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for Ranger III multisensor systems valued at $6 million. The systems will be installed along the southern U.S. border as upgrades to older thermal-imaging systems. This order represents the largest single order from CBP that FLIR has won to date. Systems will be manufactured in FLIR’s facility in Billerica, MA, and deliveries will take place in the third quarter of 2007. “The CBP has been an excellent customer of FLIR for many years, and we are pleased to be chosen again to provide critical systems for border security,” said Earl Lewis, FLIR’s president and CEO. “CBP requires rapid delivery of these systems, which plays to one of our core strengths.”

Image-sensor market seeing rapid growth

The image-sensor market reached $6 billion in 2006, a jump of more than 30% over 2005, with sales expected to grow another 14% in 2007, according to a new market report from Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA). While the overall market is becoming more predictable and growth will gradually slow over the next several years, camera phones and digital cameras continue to exceed expectations. Automotive applications are moving slowly but steadily into production, but this segment remains small for now. The top five suppliers continue to hold about two-thirds of the total market share, but membership in the top five has changed. Sony (Tokyo, Japan) and Micron (Boise, Idaho) are nearing $1 billion each in annual revenues. Overall, there are about 50 suppliers, about twice the number in 1997, but unchanged in the last few years.

BPI awarded patent for imaging system

Biomedical Photometrics (BPI; Waterloo, ON, Canada), manufacturer of multifunctional scanning-laser imaging systems that combine patented panoramic fluorescence confocal technology with automated functionality, announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the company a patent entitled “Imaging system having a fine automating digital slide creation and viewing.”

“We are pleased to be further strengthening BPI’s already strong patent position,” said A. E. (Ted) Dixon, chief executive officer. Claims include both confocal and nonconfocal instruments for transmission, single, multiphoton, and spectrally resolved fluorescence, and photoluminescence imaging using air and liquid-immersion laser-scan lenses. Biomedical applications include imaging of large-tissue specimens and invivo imaging combined with surgery or microsurgery and laser or multiphoton absorption for cutting.

Also in the news . . .

Leica Geosystems (Norcross, GA), supplier of airborne sensors and laser rangefinders for image mapping, plans to open its first ever “Geomatics Center of Excellence” in Houston, TX, which will serve as a technology showcase and educational training center. . . . The U.S. Display Consortium (San Jose, CA) began a two-year, $450,000 Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, MD) to enable the development of tools and techniques to measure the character contrast of the many display devices that are used outdoors in numerous applications. . . . Oki Electric Industry (Tokyo, Japan) increased production at its Thailand plant of large-scale integration driver chips from 10 million to 15 million per month to respond to the rapidly expanding demand for full high-definition liquid-crystal-display televisions. . . . According to market research firm iSuppli (El Segundo, CA), unit shipments for bistable, low-power, and zero-power displays-a set of technologies that spans liquid-crystal, electrophoretic, and electrochromic displays, among others-are expected to increase by a factor of about 12 from 2007 to 2012.

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