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Patent highlights

23 Jul 2004

The pick of this week's patent applications including an LED-based lure that could help fishermen up their catches.

•  Title: Underwater lighted fishing lure
Applicant: Peter B. Lindgren, US
International application number: WO 2004/057948
Fishermen could soon be using a simple LED-based lure to increase their catches, thanks to an idea being patent by US inventor Peter Lindgren. Housed in a transparent structure, the lure emits flashes of light from blue, green, blue-green or white LEDs. Lindgren says that using two different colored LEDs greatly enhances the fish catch. "When the lure includes a blue and a green LED, fish catch is more than double a white LED lure, a blue-green LED lure or a green LED lure," he claims in his patent application. He adds that the housing should also use laterally-extending fins to spin the lure.

•  Title: CMOS camera with integral laser ranging and velocity measurement
Applicant: Motorola Inc, a corporation of the state of Delaware, US
International application number: WO 2004/059698
Motorola is trying to patent a laser-ranging system for adaptive cruise control systems in cars. The device splits a laser pulse into two parts: a reference and an emitted portion that reflects off another vehicle. The reflection and the reference are then combined to determine the relative velocity of the target vehicle. This information is then passed to the cruise control system to ensure that a safe distance is maintained. "The camera may also be used to alert the driver to other vehicles and objects behind the vehicle, in blind spots, or in adjacent lanes," say the applicants.

•  Title: Optical pulse lasers
Applicant: Alnaire Laboratories Corporation, Japan
International application number: WO 2004/059806
Patent application WO 2004/059806 describes how layers of carbon nanotubes can be used as saturable absorbers as well as modelocking and Q-switching elements in pulsed lasers. According to the applicants, the advantages of using carbon nanotubes as a nonlinear material include recovery times on the order of 1 picosecond, high optical damage threshold, chemical stability and ease of fabrication. "Nonlinear optical carbon nanotubes of this invention allow the fabrication of lasers with very short pulse lengths on the order of 1 to 10 femtoseconds," say the authors in their application.

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

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