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Patent highlights

06 May 2004

The pick of this week’s patent applications including a mobile phone that contains a laser rangefinder.

•  Title: System and method of detecting mode jumps of tunable lasers
Applicant: New Focus, Inc, US
International application number: WO 2004/036706
Patent application WO 2004/036706 describes a way to detect mode hops in continuously tunable lasers. The idea involves generating an interference signal from the laser’s output. Variations in the period of the interference signal reveal the presence of mode hops. “The method may additionally adjust the cavity of the laser when a mode hop is detected,” say the inventors.

•  Title: Deposition apparatus and methods
Applicant: Cambridge Display Technology Limited, UK
International application number: WO 2004/036701
Cambridge Display Technology is trying to patent an ink-jet deposition process. The method is typically used to deposit the materials found in electronic devices such as organic light-emitting diodes. A printer with a print head containing a line of holes deposits a material dissolved in a solvent on to the substrate. The print head moves and a pattern of pixels is built up on the substrate.

•  Title: Mobile phone with laser range finder
Applicant: Peter Stevrin, Sweden
International application number: WO 2004/036246
Laser rangefinders could be the next gadgets to make an appearance in cell phones. Inventor Peter Stevrin says a rangefinder can be compressed into a small space which can be integrated with or connected to portable devices such as cell phones or PDAs. He adds that the system could be controlled via the cell phone’s display and keyboard.

•  Title: Multi-wavelength currency authentication system and method
Applicant: Cummins-Allison Corp, US
International application number: WO 2004/036508
Finding counterfeit currency bills using infrared light is the subject of patent application WO 2004/036508. Genuine bills contain marks printed with an ink that responds similarly at two different infrared wavelengths. Suspected counterfeit bills are illuminated with the two infrared wavelengths and reflection spectra are captured. If the responses are not substantially similar, then the bill is judged to be counterfeit.

Jacqueline Hewett is technology editor on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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