Imaging & Detector Industry Report

Jan. 1, 2001
Xerox spins off Gyricon Media; Displaytech develops second source; Photon Vision Systems expands, gets funding ...

Xerox spins off Gyricon Media
Xerox Corp. (Palo Alto, CA) has launched Gyricon Media, an independent venture that will commer-cialize Xerox's version of electronic reusable paper in the form of a display (electronic paper was first developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center). The company will become a competitor to E Ink (Cambridge, MA), which was the first to market its own form of electronic paper and recently announced an active-matrix version of its display (see p. 16). E Ink's products are currently in use as networked displays at JC Penney and other retail outlets; Gyricon plans to pursue the same market.

Displaytech develops second source
Ferroelectric liquid-crystal microdisplay maker Displaytech (Longmont, CO) announced that new primary manufacturing facilities in Nagano, Japan are now producing its displays. The facility, Miyota Company, is executing all phases of microdisplay production. Rather than working with retrofitted semiconductor machines, Miyota has put together its own microdisplay-specific production machines that include packaging, assembly, thin-film, and vacuum tools. The swing into production will open the door to a difficult-to-reach Japanese customer base, according to Displaytech.

Photon Vision Systems expands, gets funding
Photon Vision Systems (PVS; Cortland, NY) has formed a group—called the Imaging Solutions Group (ISG)—that will combine front-end CMOS image sensors with back-end imaging processors to form entire imaging systems on either one or two chips. The move is intended to lower the cost, size, and power consumption of digital imaging systems. Consisting of 11 scientists, engineers, and other personnel, the ISG group is located in Rochester, NY. The ISG addition follows on the heels of the company's recent refinancing announcement, in which PVS received $9 million in venture-capital funding through a cooperative effort between JK&B Capital (Chicago, IL) and CLAL Electronic Industries (Tel Aviv, Israel). Markets to be served by the expanded organization include industrial-machine vision, automotive, and medical.

IBM ups LCD resolution by an order of magnitude
IBM (Yorktown Heights, NY) has shipped the first unit of a newly developed nine-megapixel active-matrix liquid-crystal display. The 22-in. display has 200 pixels per inch, the resolution required to approach true photographic-quality images. The technology for the display arose from research that allowed IBM to use aluminum instead of the commonly used molybdenum and tungsten; the use of even higher-conducting copper has been demonstrated in experimental displays. The first display went to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA), where it will be used in studies of the operation and aging of nuclear weapons (the calculations for the studies are carried out on an ASCI White supercomputer, also made by IBM). Ten more of the displays are to be shipped to Lawrence Livermore by mid-2001. Other potential uses include weather forecasting and industrial and engineering design.

IMEC creates infrared-imaging company XenICs
IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) has spun off XenICs, a company that will design, develop, and manufacture infrared-imaging sensors intended for infrared spectroscopy and imaging, and will aim to produce infrared cameras at a price of 1.000 Euro ($890 US) or less. The sensors are based on patented tech-nologies conceived over time at IMEC, beginning in 1987, and developed at an accelerated pace since the formation of a detector-systems group in 1998. The new company is starting off with a staff of eight, several of whom are former IMEC employees. XenICs is looking for additional investors to complete its first round of funding.

Also in the news . . .
eMagin Corp. (Hopewell Junction, NY) unveiled a high-resolution active-matrix organic-light-emitting diode (OLED)-on-silicon microdisplay.... Colorado MicroDisplay (Boulder, CO) raised $35 million in its fourth round of funding.

John Wallace

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