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Patent highlights

03 Jun 2003

The pick of this week's patent applications including an invention that helps drivers see clearly in bad weather.

•  Title: Method and system for improving car safety using image enhancement
Applicant: Koninklijke Philips Electronics, the Netherlands
International application number: WO 03/044738
Are you worried about driving in the rain? If so, then Philips may have come up with a system to solve your problems. It contains a camera that captures an image of the field of view directly in front of the car. A control unit then applies a “salt and pepper” filter to remove the spots from the image and enhance its quality. The driver views the processed image on a display inside the car.

•  Title: Amplifying medium for solid-state dye lasers
Applicant: BASF Aktiengesellschaft, Germany
International application number: WO 03/044911
Patent application WO 03/044911 describes an amplifying medium for use in a solid-state dye laser. According to the application, the amplifying medium also provides optical feedback. “The amplifying medium is characterised in that the feedback medium is a polymeric dispersion film with a crystalline structure which comprises core/shell particles which may be coated,” say the authors.

•  Title: Chiral fiber laser apparatus and method
Applicant: Chiral Photonics, Inc, US
International application number: WO 03/044915
A US company is trying to patent a chiral fiber laser that it claims mimics the advantageous optical properties of a cholesteric liquid crystal. The laser is built within a fiber Bragg grating and the authors say that by controlling properties such as the laser’s dopant, pitch and core cross section, they can produce light at a desired wavelength. They claim that a defect can also be introduced to provide tunable lasing. Direct optical pumping and coupled fiber optical pumping schemes are also detailed.

•  Title: Tunable blue lasers from alloys based on organic distyrl benzene single crystals
Applicant: University of Utah, US
International application number: WO 03/044908 Single crystals of distyryl benzene (DSB) can be used to produce tunable laser emission in the blue-violet spectral range, according to patent application WO 03/044908. Grown using physical vapor transport, the authors say the resulting laser action usually occurs in the blue and may occur at multiple wavelengths, for example 442 and 470 nm. “Lasing by carrier injection is also possible, and alloys of longer PPV oligomers (n>3) in DSB may be grown into single crystals to give tunable laser action in the green-yellow spectral range,” claim the application’s authors.

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

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