ALV-Laser Vertriebsgesellschaft m.b.H. (ALV) develops, manufactures
and sells instruments for Photon Correlation Spectroscopy applications,
specially, but not limited to, Laser Light Scattering application. Photon
Correlation Spectroscopy (PCS) is widely used in several research applications
(physical chemistry, bio-chemistry, polymer science etc.), but the application
can very well be extended to routine oriented work, such as "sub-Ám particle
sizing", for example. ALV was founded in 1981 and per 10/99 has 12 employees.
The electronic key component for PCS instruments is a Digital Correlator
which computes a correlation function from a time series of detected single
photons at very high speed and in real time. ALV's traditional PC-based
digital correlators lack correlation speed for all such PCS experiments
requiring very short sampling times in the sub 10 ns regime. Furthermore,
due to the realisation using "hard-wired" ICs in combination with FPGAs,
large size PCBs are required which, in combination with the relatively
high power consumption, prevent both, multi input channel correlation,
which would require multiple such correlators, as well as hand-held instruments
which, with using the available correlators, seems neither from the size
aspect, nor from the power consumption aspect feasible. However, higher
correlation speed, the possibility of multi-channel detection as well
as potential use of PCS in hand-held application are the key ingredients
to preserve the market share and/or even further improve ALV's competitive
position - an additional substantial production cost reduction of the
digital correlators would further ease this.
For these reasons, the AE was conducted which allowed ALV to overcome
the know-how and financial barriers which so far prevented ALV to make
use of ASIC technology.
ALV acquired experience in ASIC design, design tool use and design/test
methodologies. This knowledge can directly be used to develop new ASIC
based products in the future. All initial barriers to apply ASIC technology
were overcome and the result are two correlator building blocks, which
show substantially improved performance over the existing products in
all above noted aspects, namely correlation speed, size and power consumption.
In addition, the manufacturing cost could be substantially reduced. With
these building blocks, significant increase in turnover and profit can
The AE was started in April 1998 and ran for 18 months. The total project
cost up to the prototype stage was 135 kEuro. Sales increase will enable
ALV to recover the FUSE investment in 40 months with a ROI over five years
of product life of 158%. In the context of the AE, one additional employee
was employed by ALV.
|You can also benefit from microelectronics
Digital ASIC technology provided ALV-Laser Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH
with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position.
You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics
technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process.
You can get help from FUSE to realise this.
FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.
FUSE provides you with:
- Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
- Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.
Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.