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Patent highlights

14 Jan 2005

The pick of this week's applications including a micro-structured film that could improve the visibility of touch panels.

•  Title: Optical recording disk
Applicant: TDK Corporation, Japan
International application number: WO 2005/002868
Digital media giant TDK is attempting to patent an optical recording disk that it claims can store a sequence of recording marks spaced at intervals less than the resolution limit. The disk contains a number of layers designed to boost recording capacity and increase the quality and durability of the reproduced signal. A reflective layer covers the substrate, and the disk is sealed by a light transmitting outer surface. At the disk's heart is a layer of platinum oxide dubbed the 'decomposition reaction layer'. When struck by a laser beam, oxygen is released from the layer to produce a cavity. The remaining platinum particles are then deposited in the cavity to form a recording mark.

•  Title: Microstructured optical film and production process thereof
Applicant: 3M Innovative Properties Company, US
International application number: WO 2005/003822
A fingerprint-resistant optical film designed by 3M is said to improve the visibility of touch panel screens. Conventionally, touch panels such as those on PDAs feature surfaces patterned with a series of bumps and dips. Over time however, these can diffuse light emitted by the display reducing its contrast. Additionally, for applications involving a touch panel and stylus, bumps and dips can affect stylus movement. 3M's film contains microstructed regions that the firm says improve the visibility of the display and resist fingerprinting and scratching. The company proposes that these microstructured regions are made using an embossing technique or by charging and then curing material in a mold.

•  Title: Photoluminescent infrared source
Applicant: Heriot-Watt University, UK
International application number: WO 2005/004245
Thermal imaging, infrared spectroscopy and gas sensing could benefit from a photoluminescent infrared source developed by researchers from Heriot-Watt University, UK. The source described in patent application WO 2005/004245 is made from a layer of semiconducting material that emits infrared radiation when optically pumped. A microlens array is attached to the input surface to focus the pump laser irradiation on to the semiconductor layer. The output surface of the semiconducting layer is also covered by an array of lenses.

James Tyrrell is reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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