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Patent highlights

15 May 2003

The pick of this week's patent applications including a way to join microstructured and conventional optical fibers.

•  Title: Splice joint and process for joining a microstructured optical fiber and a conventional optical fiber
Applicant: Corning, US
International application number: WO 03/038496
Corning is trying to patent a method to join together the ends of microstructured and conventional optical fibers. The method relies on the microstructured fiber fulfilling some key specifications. According to the patent, it must have: a fiber jacket at least 1.6 times thicker than the internal microstructures; a tensile strength in excess of 30 Kpsi; an optical loss of less than 0.30 dB; and internal microstructures with a shrinkage of 30%. The authors say the end portions of the fibers are joined in a fusion splicer by: "applying fusion heat to the fiber ends in a two-step process with a low current arc that is offset with respect to the end of the microstructured fiber."

•  Title: A method of accelerating the growth of plants and a light source for use in the acceleration the growth of plants
Applicant: H.G.W. Electric APS, Denmark
International application number: WO 03/037068
Do you have green-fingers or are your plants always in need of some extra attention? If it's the latter, then the light source in application WO 03/037068 is for you. The source emits at four discrete wavelengths that are alleged to stimulate plant growth. Two wavelengths, 435 and 451 nm, are used by plant to split hydrogen from water molecules while the other two, 638 and 660 nm, are used for photosynthesis.

•  Title: A display and solar cell device
Applicant: Motorola, US
International application number: WO 03/038515
Motorola is trying to patent a display that contains solar cells. The solar cells are stacked within the display and the authors say that: "light passing through display will illuminate the active surface of the solar cells." The patent says the layered structure could be used in liquid-crystal, OLED and touch-sensitive displays. As an example, the company suggests the invention could be used to power both the display in a mobile phone and the phone itself.

Jacqueline Hewett is news reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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