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Patent highlights

20 Feb 2004

The pick of this week’s patent applications including a handheld device for detecting plaque on the surface of a tooth.

•  Title: Dental implement and method for tooth surface inspection
Applicant: Inspektor Research Systems, the Netherlands
International application number: WO 2004/012593
A Dutch company is trying to patent a handheld device which it says is useful for flagging up the presence of caries or plaque on a tooth’s surface. The implement comprises a small mirror, several LEDs and a battery within its handle. The LEDs emit 390 to 450 nm light, which the authors say excites visible fluorescence from the bacteria that are known to cause plaque.

•  Title: Organic light emitting diodes
Applicant: Avecia Limited, UK
International application number: WO 2004/013920
Patent application WO 2004/013920 describes a way to produce contrast in an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display. The idea involves depositing a layer of ink to reduce or prevent conduction between two OLED layers. According to the authors, the ink layer can take several forms. For example, the layer could be an array of ink dots where the density of the dots determines the extent to which conduction is hindered. “The blocking layer may also be produced as a grey-scale pattern, where the density of dots is varied across the pattern,” say the inventors.

•  Title: Optical air data systems and methods
Applicant: Ophir Corporation, US
International application number: WO 2004/012994
US firm Ophir has applied to patent a system which it says can sense the movement of air around an aircraft. The system fires a laser into the air surrounding the aircraft and transceivers detect the scattered light. “A computer processes signals from the transceivers to distinguish molecular radiation from aerosol scattered radiation,” say the inventors. Using this information, the inventors say their system can calculate factors such as the air speed, pressure, temperature as well as the orientation of the aircraft.

•  Title: Fibre laser with plate shaped active medium fibre gratings
Applicant: QinetiQ, UK
International application number: WO 2004/013941
Patent application WO 2004/013941 details a fiber laser which contains a laminar optical gain region running parallel to the laser’s longitudinal axis. The authors are also trying to patent a fiber-laser array where “several fiber lasers are located along the length of a single optical fiber such that their respective gain regions lie in a different plane.” According to the authors, this reduces the amount of cross-talk between the fiber lasers.

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

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