01 Oct 2004
Including news from NEC, Sony, QinetiQ, EXFO, Quantum Dot Corporation and more.
General company news:
• Four Japanese firms have joined forces to form a promotion group supporting the next generation high-definition optical disc format (HD DVD). Together NEC, Sanyo, Toshiba and Memory-Tech plan to promote development of HD DVD hardware and content, assure early product launches and encourage widespread commercial uptake HD DVD technology.
• Sony will start selling samples of key components for Blu-ray disc recorders, a rival standard to HD DVD, in December this year. Components on offer include an optical pick-up head costing around ¥100,000, a laser diode driver IC priced at ¥3000 and a photodetector IC at ¥2500. Sony says this move will give manufacturers the opportunity to develop Blu-ray related products.
• QinetiQ, UK, and Input/Output, US, have joined forces to develop and deploy the world's first fiber-optic seabed seismic acquisition system. The final product will be fully optical with no electrical components in the water. The project is co-sponsored and funded by BP, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhilips and Shell.
• EXFO of Canada, the telecommunications test and measurement specialist, is consolidating its photonics and life science division. Operations at the firm's Victor/Fishers site in New York state will be transferred to Toronto. EXFO will record restructuring charges of $2.7 million but says the move will yield annual savings of $1.5 million.
Funding and awards:
• CyOptics, a US maker of high-speed optical engines for broadband communication systems, has secured $10 million in its fourth round of financing. The firm will use the cash to develop new products and expand its sales and marketing operations.
• Quantum Dot Corp (QDC), US, has won a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop clinical grade quantum dots for ocular and cancer imaging. "These next-generation quantum dots will allow, for the first time, direct imaging of small numbers of dying cells in degenerative eye diseases and greatly enhance imaging during surgical removal of lymph nodes associated with cancerous tumors," said Joe Treadway of QDC.
• DALSA of Canada has won a C$20 million contract to supply Mamiya, a maker of professional medium-format cameras, with CCD sensor chips. Mamiya will use DALSA's 22 mega-pixel CCD sensor its ZD camera. The sensor has a resolution of 4008x5344 pixels and creates detailed high-quality images.