Imaging & Detector Industry Report

June 1, 2001
Rohm becomes the latest licensee of Kodak's OLED technology; Heico buys Analog Modules Inc. for $15.6 million; DuPont licenses its own technology from Motorola for LCDs...

Rohm becomes the latest licensee of Kodak's OLED technology
Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester, NY) has licensed its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology to Rohm Co. Ltd. (Kyoto, Japan) for use in passive-matrix flat-panel-display applications. As part of the agreement, Kodak will grant Rohm a nonexclusive right to use its OLED technology, including manufacturing processes and device structures, to manufacture and sell passive monochrome and color displays. Rohm can also purchase Kodak's OLED materials for use in manufacturing the displays. Rohm plans to conduct R&D, as well as the initial mass production of OLED displays, in a new facility to be completed by summer of this year. The company aims to complete the development of OLED displays by 2002 and then enter into commercial production. Rohm's production volume and sales will be set according to the trends of the market at the time.

Heico buys Analog Modules Inc. for $15.6 million
Heico Corp. (Miami, FL) announced that its electronic technologies group has acquired Analog Modules Inc. (AMI; Orlando, FL), a designer and manufacturer of electronic products mostly for use in the laser and electro-optics industries, for $15.6 million. AMI products include photodetector-amplifier modules as well as hybrid laser-rangefinder receivers, amplifiers, flashlamp drivers, and diode drivers and power supplies; its products serve military, medical, scientific, and industrial markets. Heico expects the acquisition to be accretive to its earnings per share. Heico has also stated that AMI's entire senior management team will be remaining with AMI and that it does not expect any employee turnover as a result of the acquisition.

DuPont licenses its own technology from Motorola for LCDs
DuPont Holographics Inc. (Logan, UT), a subsidiary of DuPont (Wilmington, DE), has secured a long-term license agreement with Motorola (Tempe, AZ) for the worldwide rights to market holographic reflectors for use in liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) on small, mobile consumer devices. Until now, only Motorola—which owns a patent on this technology combination—had the right to use DuPont's holographic reflectors for display-brightness enhancement in cellular phones and pagers. Motorola received a patent for the use of holographic reflectors with LCDs in 1997. DuPont now has the right to broadly market holographic reflectors for usage in LCDs for all applications, including radio-frequency products. Holographic reflectors provide a bright-green display background; other colors, including red and blue, are currently under development. The reflectors also help combat glare.

ViewSonic licenses projection illumination technology from Cogent
ViewSonic Corp. (Walnut, CA), a provider of flat-panel and other displays, has licensed illumination technology from Cogent Light Technologies (Santa Clarita, CA) for use in front- and rear-projection digital displays. The technology involves collecting and launching high-intensity light into exceptionally small single or multiple targets. Incorporating this technology in future generations of projection digital displays should produce brighter high-resolution displays. Such displays will include releases of high-definition televisions, smart televisions, and computer monitors utilizing liquid-crystal-on-silicon (LCOS) imagers beginning in 2002. Cogent Light will work closely with the recently acquired ViewSonic subsidiary Advanced Digital Optics Inc. (Westlake Village, CA) to design and develop the light engines to be used in the newest generation of projection displays. The designs could help drive a market shift to LCOS technologies and smaller imagers.

Also in the news. . .
Essex Corp. (Columbia, MD) was awarded a $1-million contract by the Department of Defense to further develop its optoelectronic image processors. . . . Microvision Inc. (Bothell, WA) won an additional $7.5 million from the US Army to improve the efficiency of microdisplay-containing helmets for use in helicopters. . . . Hankuk Glass Industries (Seoul, Korea) will mass-produce suspended-particle device light-valve film developed by Research Frontiers Inc. (Woodbury, NY) for uses that include large-area displays.

John Wallace

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