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Oct 9th, 2010
NoblePeak Vision assets to be liquidated
NoblePeak Vision, a once-promising developer of camera cores that integrate germanium photodetectors with silicon circuits, will see its assets liquidated on Nov. 5 to pay off creditors, the company's certified public accountant announced this week.
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CPA Joseph F. Finn Jr. said he will offer NoblePeak's intellectual property — including numerous patents related to germanium-on-silicon processing — fixed assets and inventory in a sealed bid sale at noon on Nov. 5. Noblepeak's TriWave technology was billed as the first germanium-enhanced, CMOS image sensor technology, delivering sensitivity and resolution acrosss the visible, near-infrared and shortwave infrared spectra.

NoblePeak implemented a process flow that incorporated single-crystal germanium photodetectors with CMOS circuits, because germanium detectors allow the detection of a much wider spectrum of light than silicon imagers. By forming an array of such detectors and combining them with on-chip imaging circuitry, visible-to-short wave infrared imagers have been fabricated at high volume with silicon economics. Germanium, a suitable material for photodetectors, is invariably used as a relatively dilute silicon-germanium alloy (<30% germanium) in very thin layers. NoblePeak developed a special growth technique which circumnavigates the difficulties of growing thick pure layers of germanium.

The company won a 2008 Prism Award for photonics innovation for the technology from Photonics Media and SPIE.

According to its Website, NoblePeak Vision, a private company formerly known as Noble Device Technologies, was founded in December 2002 by Drs Clifford King and Conor Rafferty — former engineers and managers at Bell Laboratories — to develop and deliver its camera cores to camera OEMs serving the security and surveillance markets. It completed $8 million in Series A funding from Matrix Partners and Northbridge Venture Partners in march 2006. Series B funding totaling $12 million was secured in March 2008 with Chart Venture Partners also participating. It also received funding from the US government, including a grant from the National Science Foundation.


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