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Patent highlights

21 Oct 2003

The pick of this week’s patent applications including an extreme ultraviolet light source.

•  Title: Extreme ultraviolet light source
Applicant: Gigaphoton, Inc, Japan
International application number: WO 03/085707
A Japanese company is trying to patent a source that can generate extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light. The scheme relies on firing a laser beam at a target to produce an EUV-emitting plasma. The inventors say their source can emit light with a wavelength of “several nanometers up to several tens of nanometers”. According to the authors, the target can be an ionized molecule, an ionized atom, a mass of atoms or an ionized cluster of a rare gas such as xenon or a metal such as tin, lithium or tin oxide.

•  Title: Sensitizing dye solar cell
Applicant: Sony Corporation, Japan
International application number: WO 03/085774
Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony is looking to patent a new solar cell design. The so-called sensitizing dye solar cell contains a light-absorbing layer and an electrolytic layer sandwiched between two electrodes. The light-absorbing layer is made up of dye-doped light absorbing particles and larger-diameter light scattering particles. Sony says that the addition of the dye increases the cell’s conversion efficiency and output current.

•  Title: Method and apparatus for laser micro-machining of polymeric articles using a mode-locked laser
Applicant: Spectra-Physics, Inc, US
International application number: WO 03/084708
Spectra-Physics, US, is trying to patent a laser system for micro-machining polymers. The system is based on a diode-pumped infrared laser oscillator containing a gain medium and a mode-locking device, which is coupled to a second- and third-harmonic generator. The resulting ultraviolet output beam is capable of micro-machining a polymeric surface.

•  Title: Light extinction based non-destructive flying insect detector
Applicant: Ecolab Inc, US
International application number: WO 03/084319
If you ever need to count the number of insects flying past a specific point, then the invention being patented by US-based Ecolab is the tool to turn to. The unit uses a laser to project a sheet of light between two reflective surfaces and a detector to monitor any changes in the light intensity corresponding to an insect flying through the beam. “The time and date when the count occurred, the temperature and the ambient light, among other parameters may be stored with the flying insect count,” say the inventors. They add that a trap can also be modified to kill insects using an electrical discharge.

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

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