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Business briefs

28 Apr 2006

Including news from Varioptic, Physik Instrumente, Kodak, Corning and more.

General company news:

•  Varioptic, the French developer of liquid lenses, has closed its third round of venture capital funding on $20 million. "We are about to see huge growth in demand for auto-focus and zoom solutions from the mobile phone and other markets," said Varioptic CEO Etienne Paillard. "We will use these additional financial resources for the next phase of Varioptic's growth, which will see wide scale adoption of liquid lenses as the preferred solution in these markets."

•  US-based Quality Vision International (QVI), an expert in vision metrology, has broken ground for a 600 square meter technical center being built in Budaörs, Hungary. The facility will house Kotem Technologies, which QVI acquired in 2005.

•  Spire, a US provider of solar cell manufacturing equipment, has built a photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing line for EMMVEE solar systems, India. Spire believes that EMMVEE is now well positioned to compete with leading PV module manufacturing companies in the US and Europe.

•  Instrument Systems of Germany has supplied a range of test and measurement equipment to the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP), one of the most advanced optical laboratories in Asia. HKSTP will use the equipment to expand its expertise in displays and solid-state lighting.

•  Olympus is merging its Soft Imaging System and Olympus BioSystems subsidiaries to form Olympus Soft Imaging Solutions. The new company, which Olympus hopes will become a leader in the field of scientific imaging, will develop microscopy software and hardware.

•  Digital View has signed a global distribution agreement with fellow US firm Digi-Key. Digital View products carried by Digi-Key include a range of LCD controller boards, LVDS cables and transmitter boards, inverter power cables, and LCD Solution Kits.

Patents and licensing:

•  Nanopositioning expert PI (Physik Instrumente) has been awarded US patent number 6,950,050 which describes a way of increasing the resolution of existing D/A converters, without additional hardware. PI says the technology, which will be marketed under the name HyperBit, provides higher resolution piezo-driven nanopositioning devices at lower cost.

•  Kodak has licensed its OLED technology to Univision Technology of Taiwan. Univision plans to incorporate Kodak's know-how into future generation flat panel passive-matrix displays. To date, more than 15 companies have licensed organic display technology from Kodak.

Displays:

•  Corning has decided to locate its LCD glass substrate finishing facility in Beijing, China. The firm is set to become the first TFT-LCD glass substrate supplier with a production facility on the Chinese mainland. The amount of funding for the project was not disclosed.

•  Samsung Electronics says it is ramping up production of 40-inch and larger LCD TV panels based on its super patterned vertical alignment technology (S-PVA). The company is responding to consumer demand for larger screens offering high-definition viewing, color accuracy and multi-angle viewing, which the S-PVA technology can deliver.

•  S-LCD, a joint venture between Sony and Samsung, is investing an additional ¥28 billion to expand production of Gen7 TFT-LCD panels. S-LCD currently has a monthly production capacity of 60,000 panels, which is expected to rise to 75,000 by July 2006. The additional investment announced this week will increase this to 90,000 panels per month by the beginning of 2007.

•  Sony and Samsung have also announced plans to manufacture 8th generation (2200x2500 mm) amorphous TFT LCD panels at S-LCD. The companies plan to invest $2 billion in a new production line, with an initial capacity of 50,000 panels per month targeted by fall 2007.

LaCroix Precision OpticsOptikos Corporation ECOPTIKSPECTROGON ABCeNing Optics Co LtdHyperion OpticsCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.
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