American start-up takes out licence on DPI patent

7 July 2008

The American ImagineOptix has taken out a licence on a Dutch Polymer Institute patent in order to commercially introduce affordable high-quality small projectors. "This technology with its high energy and light efficiency and high contrast between dark and light is perfectly suited for projection applications" says Cees Bastiaansen of the TU/e.

The technology is based on a new type of diffraction grating manufactured by polarisation holography. The product, a thin-film on glass, diffracts red, green and blue colours with liquid crystals (also used in LCD screens) and was developed in a Dutch Polymer Institute project, under the supervision of Dick Broer and Cees Bastiaansen at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), a DPI partner. Professor Dick Broer: "The Dutch Polymer Institute caters not only for the funding but also for the link to the affiliated industrial partners in order to foster the applicability of the research results." Dr Michael Escuti, formerly a Post-Doc on the DPI project and now chief scientific officer at ImagineOptix, wants to use the licence to exploit this technology worldwide. The American start-up wants to develop the best quality projection image possible in the smallest possible devices, like PDAs, cell phones, handheld games and digital home cinema systems.

More energy and light efficient

The most common beamer has a lamp that shines from behind onto three colour filters (red, green, blue). The control circuit of the liquid crystals for the colour filters determines which colour is ultimately projected by the lens. Liquid crystals require special light filters called polarizers which waste more than 50% of the light. Because of this waste, high intensity is required of the lamp. And you notice it: the beamer feels hot and has to be actively cooled with noisy fans. The new technology replaces the need for polarizers and works on the basis of diffraction gratings that enable the light to be reflected by liquid crystals in red, green and blue colours without the polarizers. This causes significantly less light to be absorbed (more light efficient) and less intensity from the lamp (more energy efficient). With lower intensity requirements, more efficient light sources like LEDs can also be effectively used, which leads DPI to conclude that this technology will enable ImagineOptix to develop better beamers.

Inventions in house

Dr John van Haare, Programme Area Coordinator at the Dutch Polymer Institute: "This is a striking example of one of the DPI objectives, namely the creation of added economic value through academic research. This DPI licence is stimulating entrepreneur Michael Escuti to set up a new company to develop this technology into commercial products."
Since its foundation in 1997, DPI has registered 117 inventions of which 78 have been submitted for filing. The coming years are also expected to see the flow of registered inventions and patent submissions grow: new processes and products such as new plastics, better rubber, nanocomposites and holographic films.

For a Dutch press release, please contact Noortje Peek

Attachments: Press release English