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Patent highlights

01 Mar 2004

The pick of this week’s patent applications including an optical fiber sensor that monitors an unborn baby’s heart rate.

•  Title: System and method for fetal monitoring
Applicant: Mysens Ltd, Israel
International application number: WO 2004/016163
An Israeli company is trying to patent an optical fiber sensor which can be worn by pregnant women to monitor their baby’s heart rate. The device is essentially a flexible belt which is worn around the abdomen. The belt contains a light source, optical fiber and a detector. The fetal heart beat, or any other fetal movement, changes the way light is transmitted through the optical fiber, which is picked up and recorded by the detector.

•  Title: Organic light-emitting devices for illumination
Applicant: Universal Display Corporation, US
International application number: WO 2004/017678
The Universal Display Corporation has applied to patent an organic light-emitting device. The device contains several regions, each having an organic emissive layer that emits a specific waveband of light. The combined output is said to suit illumination applications. “The area of each region may be selected such that the device is more efficient than an otherwise equivalent device having regions of equal size,” say the authors.

•  Title: Digital electronic synchronization of ultrafast lasers
Applicant: Coherent, US
International application number: WO 2004/017475
Patent application WO 2204/017475 describes a device that can synchronize the output of two passively modelocked lasers. The first step involves sampling the output of each laser using a photodiode. This signal is then converted into a train of digital pulses and passed to a digital phase detector. After some complex processing, a system adjusts the length of the resonator in one of the lasers. According to the inventors, this gives the lasers the same repetition rate and the desired phase relationship.

•  Title: Optical disk
Applicant: Sony Corporation, Japan
International application number: WO 2004/015703
Consumer electronics giant Sony is trying to patent the structure of its optical discs. The discs, which are said to have a total thickness greater than 0.7 mm, comprise a recording layer sandwiched between a substrate and a protective layer. The protective layer is said to be thinner than the substrate. A recording laser in then directed at the protective layer.

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

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