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Laser Light Engines, which develops super-bright laser-driven light sources for projection devices, announced today that it raised $13 million for development of a 3D-movie light source.

Imax, a strategic partner, joined existing investors in the round.

The funding will help produce a custom light source for Imax theaters that is two to five times brighter than a typical xenon bulb used in projection devices — which would be particularly useful in 3D film screenings. Splitting a video into two separate feeds (one for each eye) usually cuts the brightness of the picture by 80 percent, according to Laser Light Engines.

With 3D films becoming increasingly popular, there’s room for a better light source in projection devices. James Cameron’s Avatar, perhaps the film responsible for putting 3D films in the spotlight, brought in more than $2 billion — a large chunk of that coming from its 3D film release.

The new bulbs will save theaters around $10,000 a year in replacements of the currently-used Xenon arc bulbs for projection devices and by cutting electricity costs by about 50 percent, according to the company.

The Salem, N.H.-based company had previously raised $5 million in funding from Braemar Energy and Harris & Harris in 2008.

[Photo: justin]

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