OLED is on fire!



(image source: Shinny plastic)

Even since Samsung achieved great success in the AMOLED display market, china’s panel makers to rush and invest in the OLED technology ( despite the fact that the Chinese government promote the LCD technology. Currently Visionox, Sichuan CCO Display Technology, Truly Optpo-electronics, BOE Technology group, Tianma Micro-electronics , China Star Optoelectronics (CSOT) and EverDisplay all announced massive investment in the OLED display technology. Tablet PCs, near eye virtual reality devices , mobile devices, automotive monitors and OLED TV demand the development of new flexible display technology.

Just how big is OLED business? According to IHS Inc data,  the revenue from flexible displays will increase from $ 3.7 billion @ 2016 to $ 15.5 billion @ 2022 ( 300% !). According to the rumor ( source: the korean Herald), Samsung will supply 100 million units of 5.5-inch OLED panels annual ( $ 2.58 billion deal) to apple.

According to the UBI Research’s OLED Manufacturing Equipment Annual Report, the global Gen6 flexible AMOLED manufacturing equipment market is expected to record USD 28,411 million in 2016-2020. 47% of this is for Apple’s use with USD 13,000 million.


Source: IHS Inc data, OLEDnet.com, macrumors.com







Additive Manufacturing a.k.a 3D printing is on Fire!

Recently the web is bombarded with the news of how the 3D printing is taking over the world! Lots of companies are trying to get piece of the pie, including 3D Systems, Concept Laser, e-Manufacturing Solutions (EOS), Materialise, Matsuura, Realizer, Renshaw, RPM Innovations, SLM Solutions, Stratasys, Sodick, and Trumpf  etc.

Airbus group has just open up an additive manufacturing center in Munich

GE will approx. 39million dollars in a new additive manufacturing center at Pittsburg.

NASA is testing 3D printing technology by manufacturing complex engine parts.

MTU / Airbus will use additive technology to manufacture components.

Source: http://www.industrial-lasers.com/laser-additive-manufacturing.html

NKT Photonics acquires ultrafast fiber laser maker Fianium

To strengthen its position in ultrafast fiber and supercontinuum lasers, NKT Photonics (Birkerød, Denmark) is acquiring Fianium (Southampton, England) in an all-cash transaction woth approximately EUR 27 million. The acquisition will also improve NKT Photonics’ global market position in terms of geographical coverage, manufacturing facilities, and complementary product portfolios.

Source: http://www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/2016/03/nkt-photonics-acquires-ultrafast-fiber-laser-maker-fianium.html

Coherent – Rofin struck with a $942 million deal

Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc., a laser-products company contending with a harsh proxy fight, has struck a $942 million deal for a sale to Coherent Inc.

The $32.50-a-share deal provides a 42% premium to Rofin-Sinar’s Wednesday closing price of $22.91. Rofin-Sinar shares were slightly above the deal price in recent-after hours trading, rising 44% to $33.

Rofin-Sinar will postpone its annual meeting, which had been scheduled for Thursday.

Coherent expects the deal to close within six to nine months, and expects it to add to earnings per share in the first full year after closing.

Coherent said the purchase will strengthen its position in materials processing. It expects about $30 million of annual savings within 18 to 24 months of closing.

Coherent’s laser products are used for a wide range of applications including defense, graphic arts, life sciences and materials processing. For the year ended Oct. 3, the Santa Clara, Calif., company had net sales of $802.5 million.

Rofin-Sinar, which has operational headquarters in Plymouth, Mich., and Hamburg, Germany, posted net sales of $519.6 million for the year ended Sept. 30. It serves the semiconductor, automotive, machine-tool and solar sectors, among others.

Source: WSJ

How to see around the corner?

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Researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland have recently developed a super sensitive camera that could detect what is hidden behind the corners. The camera is called single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) camera and using the photons echo mapping technique, it is possible to see beyond the line of sight!

Actually this technique is really not that new. In 2012, MIT researchers announce that they have developed a camera that can capture trillion frame per second. Using it, it is possible capture the photons that reflected from object or person around the corners.

Cool right ?



Tutorial 102: How to select a f-theta objective for your scanner ?


f-theta objective is normally used together with a galvo-based laser scanner. It has 2 main functions: focus the laser spot and flatten the image field, as shown in the image below. The output beam displacement is equal to f*θ, thus was given the name of f-theta objective. Current leading companies for f-theta objectives includes SILL optics, Jenoptik , LINOS, ULO, II-IV etc.


Left: typical scan field with curvature using single focusing lens. middle: typical result of a flat field lens. Right: flat field objective can provide flat field and f*θ at the output (Source: Thorlabs).

By asking the following questions, it is possible to narrow down the selection of the scanning objectives:

  • What is the laser parameters (wavelength, average power, pulsed or CW?) -> determine the AR coating and the lens materials.
  • What is the required image field size and focused spot size? -> determine required focal length.
  • Is the telecentricity properties of the f-theta objective important? -> determine whether you would need a telecentric lens. For example, drilling application

So what to look at when shopping for a f-theta?

  • focal length
  • output beam quality
  • clear aperture of the objective
  • telecentric or not?
  • lens materials ?
  • achromatic or not?
  • Would thermal shift be an issue ?

In general, a diffraction limited f-theta combined with a scanner would produce a spot size given by:

Spot size (1/e²) = (λ• f • APO • M²) / Dg, where APO is the truncation factor that depend on the ratio between aperture stop of the scanner and input beam diameter. Different ratio will give different APO value, as shown below:

2.0 1.27
1.5 1.41
1.25 1.56
1.0 1.83
0.9 1.99
0.75 2.32
0.5 2.44

As for other Da/Dg ratio, one can estimate the APO using hyperbolic tangential function or the formula stated in  “CVI Melles Griot All things Photonics”

Source: Jenoptik, Sill Optics & Thorlabs


Instead of paying hundreds pf thousands of dollars for a Selective Laser Sintering printer, why not try to build it for $2000 ? Rice University researcher has recently demonstrated that it is possible to develope a low-cost, open-source SLS system (OpenSLS) and demonstrated its capacity to fabricate structures in nylon with sub-millimeter features and overhanging regions.




Laser + Glass – you got yourself a 360GB memory that last for hundred of millions years

Imagine the Superman using his laser beam eye to store information in the memory crystals in the Fortress of Solitude. Too bad,  he cannot create femtosecond pulsed with his eyes.

CW-STM-Fortress-28source: capedwonder

Hitachi has developed a glass-based data storage medium that is highly heat and water resistant, capable of holding data for hundreds of millions of years, and says it may be able to bring it to market by 2015.The company’s main research lab has developed a way to etch digital patterns into robust quartz glass with a laser at a data density that is better than compact discs, then read it using an optical microscope. The data is etched at four different layers in the glass using different focal points of the laser.

The company has tested the durability of the quartz glass it uses and determined that it will last for “hundreds of millions of years.” It said samples held up to two hours of exposure to 2000-degree-Celsius heat in an accelerated aging test. Hitachi said it first conceived of the idea of storing data by etching it into quartz glass in 2009, but read and write times remained an issue. The company uses tiny dot patterns to store bits, and has recently developed a way to etch 100 dots at a time, greatly improving the write time.

Recently the scientists at the University of Southampton have made a major step forward in the development of this digital data storage.Using nanostructured glass, scientists from the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have developed the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional (5D) digital data by femtosecond laser writing.

The storage allows unprecedented properties including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C ) opening a new era of eternal data archiving. As a very stable and safe form of portable memory, the technology could be highly useful for organisations with big archives, such as national archives, museums and libraries, to preserve their information and records.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 9.54.08 PM

How does it works?

5D data storage.jpg_SIA_JPG_fit_to_width_INLINE

To record data, spots are imprinted on the glass (pictured below) using a femtosecond laser. A femtosecond laser, in this case, produces bursts of laser light that last for just 280 femtoseconds (280 quadrillionths of a second). These spots, thanks to the nanostructuring of the surface, and some hologram cleverness, are capable of recording up to three bits of data in two “dimensions.” By varying the focus of the laser, the team are able to create layers of dots that are separated by five micrometers (0.005mm) in the z-axis (the third dimension). Then, by simply moving the laser horizontally and vertically, these tri-bits can be stored in two more dimensions, bringing the total to 5D. The image at the top of the story helps illustrate this concept.

To read these spots, an optical microscope that’s capable of untangling the polarized light reflected by the three-bit spots is used. There’s no word on whether these silica glass discs can be rewritten, but the research paper makes it sound like this is a write-once-read-many (WORM) storage method.

Source: University of Southhampton; Extremetech; Hitachi



DOUG AITKEN’S STATION to Station, which took a crew of visual artists and musicians from New York to California aboard a nine-car train, brought together digitized modern creativity and the distinctly analog appeal of the great American road trip. They rode the rails, they performed, they stopped and collaborated with locals, and streamed it all online. Now Aitken has synthesized the three-week experience into a documentary of 62 one-minute highlights,available on iTunes starting Jan. 15.

In the above clip from the documentary, data visualization artist Aaron Koblin (now the CTO of virtual reality company Vrse) explains Light Echoes, the product of a collaboration between himself and director Ben Trickleback. In Koblin’s words, it’s their way of “mapping the history of the train on top of the landscape.” The twist is that their cartography is accomplished with a giant array of lasers projecting images onto train tracks. The vividly colored result is a trail of light that looks as organic as it does alien.