News Article

In Brief: Mobiles, Blu-ray Optics And Crime Scenes

Chips from RF Micro Devices power the latest must-have gadget from Sharp; Aixtron sells its first combined atomic layer deposition and atomic vapor deposition machine; Ricoh develops optics that could allow integrated HD-DVD and Blu-ray players; and the Centre for Integrated Photonics works on a portable DNA analyzer featuring III-V optoelectronics.

RFMD powers iconic "Sidekick" gadget
Sharp Corporation's new "Sidekick 3" mobile device, the follow-up to the iconic handheld platform popular with US fashionistas, features GaAs-based components from RF Micro Devices.

The gadget, which is launched this week and is expected to have a monthly production run of 100,000, features one of the Greensboro, NC, company's dual-mode EDGE power amplifier modules.

RFMD also provides the RF modulator and driver, as well as Bluetooth functions.

Aixtron sells combination tool
Germany-based deposition equipment vendor Aixtron has received its first system order for a combination atomic layer deposition (ALD)/atomic vapor deposition (AVD) tool.

The order was placed by an unspecified memory chip manufacturer based in Asia, and the equipment will be installed at its research fab in the current quarter.

It will be used to evaluate various high-k dielectric materials and metal gates for advanced silicon applications such as memory and capacitor chips.

Ricoh devises HD-DVD integration
The Japanese company Ricoh is reported to have developed an optical component that can be used to read both Blu-ray and high-definition (HD) DVD discs.

The two formats are currently incompatible, but according to a report at Nikkei.net, Ricoh's optical solution means that the two discs could be read by a single laser beam emitted from a GaN device.

Blu-ray Discs operate with a wider beam and also have a data layer that is much nearer to the disc surface than is the case for the rival HD-DVD format.

According to the report, Ricoh can overcome this problem by altering the depth of the laser's focal point. The company is said to be aiming to commercialize the technology by the end of next year.

Crime scene boost for CIP
The UK's Centre for Integrated Photonics (CIP) has won a contract to develop optoelectronic parts that could form part of a portable DNA analyzer for crime scene officers.

CIP, which has a rich heritage in III-V optoelectronics expertise (see related feature), received £215,000 ($396,000) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the UK to integrate micro-fluidic and active optical components and create a disposable device.

After DNA is separated by a chemical technique known as electrophoresis, an LED and photodiode will create and detect fluorescence in the sample.

If it works, the "lab-on-a-chip" could allow DNA evidence to be extracted from a crime scene prior to contamination.

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