3D cinema leader, Imax Corp., is teaming up with a much smaller laser technology company for a research and development project aimed at producing brand new projector technology.

A partnership has been signed with Laser Light Engines (LLE), in which the small New Hampshire-based company will provide its technology exclusively to the Canadian cinema giant. It will also include the outsourcing of Imax's research projects.

The partnership will specifically look at how to enable the largest, still film-based Imax screens to use the digital dual-projector system that has revolutionized the running and cost of the smaller screens.

Imax chief executive, Richard Gelfond, said, "What Laser Light brings to us is not only the ability to do larger screens in digital, which we've been unable to do before, but also to create brighter images in our existing theaters."

The two companies believe that integrating a new light source into existing projectors could be done without the need to overhaul the complete system, saving money and time. The company aims to upgrade its larger film screens to digital in the next couple of years.

LLE chief executive, Doug Darrow, said digital cinema has modernised everything except for light sources.

"While laser-based projection isn't a new concept, it is also associated with an interference pattern, known as speckle, that can make the picture unwatchable," he explained. "Laser Light's key breakthrough is a despeckling process that allows it to put up the best quality digital images in the world."