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Business briefs

15 Oct 2004

Including news from Cree, Philips, Nanotech Semiconductor, IMEC, Konarka and more.

General company news:

•  Aixtron and RWTH Aachen of Germany and Philips of the Netherlands have teamed up to develop large-area white organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The project plans to develop OLEDs for lighting applications and establish new manufacturing processes using Aixtron's organic vapour phase deposition technology.

•  IMEC, the Belgium microelectronics research center says, announces that more than 30 players have now joined its Industrial Affiliation Program for 193 nm immersion lithography. Recent members include leading IC manufacturers NEC EL and Sony. IMEC's sub-45nm CMOS core partners, which include Infineon Technologies, Intel, Matsushita, Philips, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments, have also joined the program.

•  China-based Shanghai SVA NEC Liquid Crystal Display, a joint venture between NEC and SVA, has started producing TFT color LCDs at its factory in Shanghai. The facility has a fifth-generation line which produces 1100x1300 mm glass substrates. The firm will initially make 22,500 sheets per month rising to 52,000 by the end of April 2005.

•  A new spin-off firm that specializes in providing consultancy services to the laser and optics community has been founded by a researcher from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). RP Photonics Consulting provides a wide range of services including product design and modelling, according to its founder RĂ¼diger Paschotta.

Financial results and funding:

•  Semiconductor manufacturer Cree has announced revenue of $95,897,000 for the first financial quarter of 2005 which represents a 45% increase on its 2004 performance. The firm's LED revenue has risen by 56% from the same period last year, a 9% jump on the previous quarter, to $78.9 million. LED product sales represented 82% of the company's revenue in the first quarter. Cree is targeting revenue of around $99 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2005.

•  Nanotech Semiconductor of the UK has raised $1.2 million in its first external investment round. The fabless chip firm makes analog and mixed integrated circuits (ICs) for fiber-optic communications. "Having completed our first two ICs for in-car communications over plastic optical fiber, we really need to expand the customer-facing side of our business: applications engineering, sales and marketing," said Gary Steele, the firm's founder.

•  Actuality Systems, the US developer of 3D visualization technology, has secured $6.5 million in series C financing. The round includes an investment of $1.2 million from oil and gas exploration firm Apache. "We are looking forward to working closely with the team at Actuality to develop this technology for finding more hydrocarbons," said Mike Bahorich of Apache. "It enables us to view geological, geophysical and reservoir information in three dimensions."

•  Konarka, a developer of flexible solar cells with facilities in the US, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, is set to receive a grant from the California Energy Commission to develop its plastic photovoltaics for the roofing market. The Energy Innovations Small Grant Program provides up to $75,000 to small businesses, non-profits, individuals and academic institutions to conduct research that establishes the feasibility of new, innovative energy concepts.

•  Finisar will pay less than originally expected for Infineon Technologies' fiber-optic business unit. In April, Finisar stated that it would acquire the German chip maker's subsidiary for 135 million Finisar shares ($263 million). However, after the Infineon unit reported disappointing operating results, Finisar downgraded the deal to 110 million shares. This will give Infineon a 33% equity in Finisar.

•  Universal Display Corporation, the US maker of OLED technologies for flat panel displays, has won a $750,000 Phase II SBIR contract. The award will fund the company's work on high-luminous efficiency white phosphorescent OLEDs with low operating voltages.

DIAMOND SAAUREA TECHNOLOGYDelta Optical Thin Film A/SHyperion OpticsUniverse Kogaku America Inc.LASEROPTIK GmbHDiverse Optics Inc.
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