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Business briefs

15 Jun 2007

Including news from Strategies Unlimited (image sensor market forecast), Biomedical Photometrics, Synova, Disco Hi-Tec, Oki Electric Industry, Philips, TIR Systems, Boeing, Lambda Research and others.

• The image sensor market turned over $6 billion in 2006, a jump of over 30% from 2005, with sales expected to grow another 14% in 2007, according to a new market study. Strong growth is expected in camera phones, security cameras and digital radiography, while the automotive segment remains small. The top five suppliers continue to hold about two-thirds of the total market, although the top five suppliers have changed.

Sony and Micron are nearing $1 billion each in annual revenues. Overall, there are about 50 main sensor suppliers, twice the number in 1997, but unchanged over the past few years. CMOS image sensors dominate both unit and revenue share, mostly owing to the continued rise of the camera phone market. Image Sensor Market Review and Forecast-2007 is available from Strategies Unlimited

Biomedical Photometrics, Canada, a manufacturer of laser scanning systems for drug discovery, pathology and genomics research, has been issued patent No. 7,218,446 (2007) entitled "Imaging system having a fine focus" by the US Patent & Trademark Office. Claims include both confocal and non-confocal instruments for transmission, single and multi-photon fluorescence, spectrally-resolved fluorescence, and photoluminescence imaging, using both air and liquid-immersion laser scan lenses.

Synova, Switzerland, has announced a partnership with Disco Hi-Tec Europe, Germany, to combine Synova's water-jet guided Laser MicroJet technology with Disco's blade-saw dicing systems to develop a hybrid dicing tool. Both companies will contribute to the manufacturing of the resulting hybrid tool, and will share marketing and sales efforts when the tools are introduced in late 2007.

Oki Electric Industry will enhance production of driver LSIs for LCD panels at its Thailand plant. New production equipment has been installed to expand capacity by 50%, from 10 million to 15 million per month from summer 2007, driven by demand for high-definition LCD TVs. OKI also plans to expand Oki Thailand's capabilities for other developing technologies such as super fine pitch products.

Philips has completed the acquisition of Vancouver, Canada-based TIR Systems, a developer of solid state lighting, in a deal worth C$75 million ($70 million). TIR Systems will be financially consolidated with immediate effect within the Solid State Lighting business unit of Philips' Lighting division.

Boeing has been awarded a $28 million US Air Force contract for delivery of its Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) weapon system, a modular kit that installs laser sensors to existing JDAM weapons in the field. The contract will add 600 laser seekers (400 for the US Air Force and 200 for the US Navy) to the services' existing inventory of 500-pound bombs. Boeing will deliver the systems by June 2009.

• Swansea University, UK, has been awarded part of the British Government's Department of Trade & Industry's £1.9 milion ($3.8 million) funding aimed at developing "innovative laser solutions". As part of the DTI's Technology Programme, the University's Institute of Advanced Telecommunications will develop laser display technologies to enhance the quality of cinema projections that may lead to revenues in excess of one billion pounds a year.

Lambda Research, US, has announced that its TracePro optomechanical modelling software will be distributed in Europe and Israel by Linos Photonics of Germany. Customers using Lambda's Opto optical design software will be supported by Lambda directly.


• Krishna Bala has been named president and CEO of Xtellus, the US supplier of liquid crystal-based optical subsystems and modules for dynamic DWDM networks. Bala has served on the company's board since 2001, and replaces outgoing CEO Thomas Dudley.

Novalux, the US developer of Necsel laser display technology, has appointed William Mackenzie as chief operating officer. Mackenzie has 20 years of experience in the semiconductor industry and joins from Oxford Semiconductor.

• James Largent has joined the board of dental laser supplier Biolase, US, increasing the size of the company's board to seven members. Largent has many years' experience in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries, including 28 years with Allergan, and has been a consultant to the medical device industry for the past five years.

J P Sercel Associates, a US supplier of excimer and solid-state lasers, has appointed Joseph Brun as Quality Assurance Manager. Brun has more than 30 years' experience in inspection, quality engineering and management positions with Dynamics Research Corporation and Kokusai Semiconductor Equipment Corporation, among others, and will initially focus on bringing JPSA into compliance with ISO 9001:2000.

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