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Patent highlights

05 Jan 2004

The pick of this week’s patent applications including a way to detect and classify biological particles.

•  Title: A vibration protection structure for fibre optic sensors or sources
Applicant: QinetiQ, UK
International application number: WO 03/106940
UK-based QinetiQ has come up with a device that allegedly protects fiber-optic sensors and sources from unwanted vibrations. The design relies on a cage-like structure that is attached to the optical fiber. Any vibrations are coupled into the cage rather than passing into the sensor itself. According to the authors, this structure is particularly useful when working with fiber-laser hydrophones.

•  Title: Polarising liquid crystal device for security documents
Applicant: Securency Pty Ltd, Australia
International application number: WO 03/106188
An Australian company is trying to patent a liquid-crystal structure that can be incorporated into documents. A structure comprising a so-called photo-alignment layer topped with a layer of a nematic liquid crystal is used to create a latent image, which is viewable under cross-polarisers. According to the inventors, the image is formed without the need for a mask by a variable printing or laser writing process.

•  Title: System and method for detecting and classifying biological particles
Applicant: S3I L.L.C, US
International application number: WO 03/106965
Patent application WO 03/106965 describes a laser-based system for identifying biological particles. The system detects the light scattered from the particle as well as any fluorescence emitted when the particle is excited by a laser’s fundamental or harmonic frequencies. A combination of Mie scattering theory and fluorescence analysis is used to identify the particle. “A warning or alert can be provided if the identified biological particle is of interest,” say the application’s authors.

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

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