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Business briefs

18 Jan 2008

Featuring news from BioOptics World, Bookham, DisplaySearch, Cilas, Tessera, Michelson Diagnostics and others.

• The global market for optical coherence tomography (OCT) systems is currently around $200 million and growing at an annual rate of 34%, according to a market survey. Growth is expected to continue at this pace for the next several years, with revenues topping $800 million by 2012. Intravascular imaging applications have gained momentum over the past 12 months and this sector looks to be the next growth market for OCT technologies. Much of this activity is driven by a shift from time-domain to Fourier-domain OCT, which offers improved resolution and image-acquisition speed and is not protected under the original tightly-held patents that have limited competition with time-domain systems. Coherence Tomography - Technology, Markets, and Applications: 2008-2012 is available from BioOptics World.

Bookham is to enter the biomedical market with its ZoroLight LED multiplexing technology. Rather than using lenses to capture light in free space, the ZoroLight LED module traps light in a tunnel of highly-reflective dielectric-coated surfaces that are geometry optimized for efficient source light collection and filter performance. It multiplexes up to six wavelengths in the visible range, or red, green and blue for white light, and is claimed to do so in less space than any other approach of comparable efficiency.

• Sales of equipment used to manufacture TFT LCDs is expected to surge by 40% to more than $11.6 billion in 2008, and will likely remain at a similar level through 2009, according to a new report. New investments are expected help keep prices on a declining curve, and push demand further than previously expected. The Quarterly TFT LCD Supply/Demand and Capital Spending Report from DisplaySearch claims that 2008 will be a successful year for almost all segments of the LCD industry, and see of reversal of 2007's decline in revenue for equipment companies.

Cilas will undertake a design and prototyping study for the adaptive mirror of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), on behalf of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The telescope's adaptive mirror will be 2.5 m in diameter, and include between five and ten thousand piezoelectric actuators. Cilas has previously delivered 14 adaptive mirrors to ESO, and the new study will continue the collaboration between the two parties. The E-ELT will have a primary mirror diameter of 42 m, and the telescope will be the largest installation of its kind in the world when it begins operating in 2018.

Tessera has licensed its OptiML wafer-level camera technology and Shellcase wafer-level chip-scale packaging solutions to Nemotek of Morocco. The deal is expected to drive further adoption of the technologies in the mobile phone sector through Morocco's close ties to the industry's leading manufacturers. Nemotek is the first company to license both OptiML and Shellcase, and will provide image sensor packaging services along with camera module design and assembly.

• Initial results from clinical trials of Michelson Diagnostics' OCT imaging technology carried out at University College London have established that it holds promise for early in vivo tumor diagnosis. The tests involved comparing images of oral cancer tissue samples taken by the new scanner with histopathology images analysed by trained pathologists, and established that surface structures, areas of cellular crowding and pathological changes could be identified. OCT could allow better surveillance of pre-cancers in the mouth and eliminate the wait for biopsy results, according to the company. See also previous coverage of Michelson Diagnostics on optics.org.

• The Cadillac Escalade Platinum will be the first sports utility vehicle to be fitted with LED headlights as standard when it is launched in 2008. Each headlight contains seven OSTAR Headlamp LEDs, from OSRAM, five for low beam and two for high beam. Each headlight also has a position light with white Advanced Power TopLEDs and a side marker light with yellow Power TopLEDs. The OSRAM LEDs have been developed specifically for headlight manufacturer Hella, and are claimed to be among the brightest LEDs available for the automotive sector.

• Taiwan's photonics industry saw its revenue surge past the NT$2 trillion ($62.5 billion) mark for the first time by the end of 2007 to NT$2.06 trillion (US$64.5 billion), according to figures from the country's Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association. This represented a sharp 32% year-on-year increase, ending low growth rates of barely 10% seen in recent years. The island replaced South Korea as the largest supplier of TFT-LCDs with a market share of 42%, but remained behind Japan as the world's number two LED packager with 20% of the global market.

Laser Energetics (LEI) has received a contract worth $481k from ITT Corporation to demonstrate an all-solid state frequency-tripled Alexandrite laser using LEI's BrightStar technology. This contract is in support of the US Army's initiative to develop an all solid-state laser for the next generation of chemical warfare agent sensors currently being developed by ITT.

Intense has signed a distribution agreement with A&P Instrument, a leading OEM distributor of lasers and instrumentation in China, covering Intense's entire line of high-power, QWI-enabled laser diodes. Products include high-power visible and IR laser diodes, bars and stacked arrays, fiber lasers, and individually addressable arrays. The agreement will accelerate Intense's growth in the Chinese market, according to the companies.

Saint-Gobain and Novaled have demonstrated the feasibility of large-area OLEDs, following a two-year research program between the two partners to develop basic technologies for high-performance white OLEDs. The new Silverduct high-performance metallic anode has a sheet resistance of less than 4 Ohm/sq, enabling large area OLEDs without additional metal grids. Silverduct is said to offer significant potential for reducing manufacturing costs, and be an important development for transparent and bottom emission OLEDs.

People

• Stephan Geiger has been appointed managing director of ROFIN/Baasel Lasertech in Starnberg, Germany. He started his career at ROFIN in 1985, and returned to the company as manager of the New Technologies unit in 2006.

ROFIN has also named Christine Hermann as division manager of the R&D department. Hermann has worked for the company since 1989, and served as manager of hard- and software development since 2001.

Orb Optronix, a provider of opto-electronic system design and integration, has appointed Daniel Hill as senior optical engineer in its optical engineering services group. Hill has a background in imaging and non-imaging optics, and is also a former course instructor in Zemax optical design software.

NIL TechnologyAVANTES BVKentek CorporationEdmund OpticsAltechnaDiffraction InternationalSynopsys, Optical Solutions Group
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