CIP launches 40 GHz optical sampler

The nonprofit Centre for Integrated Photonics (CIP) has released an optical sampler that it claims provides a versatile platform for optical networks.

IPSWICH, UK - The nonprofit Centre for Integrated Photonics (CIP) has released an optical sampler that it claims provides a versatile platform for optical networks. The sampler offers return-to-zero data modulation, pulse shaping, and optical time division multiplexing and provides a sampling function capable of operating at rates up to 40 GHz in the 1550-nm waveband. According to CIP, the indium-phosphide device can generate temporal windows of less than 5 picoseconds duration with low polarization loss and fine control over both window shape and frequency.

The new electro-absorption modulator joins a range of compound-semiconductor and planar lightwave circuit devices for optical networking now offered by CIP. CIP opened for business in January 2004 but has a long career in other guises; it has been operating as an R&D center since the 1970s under the original ownership of BT (formerly British Telecom) and later as part of Corning. As such it has produced pioneering work on optical fibers, optoelectronic devices, passive optical components, optical systems and hybrid integration.

The facility was saved from closure in 2003 by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA, a government agency), which stepped in when Corning announced the closure of the center and bought the assets, allowing the prestigious Martlesham Heath photonics research group to remain functioning. Now owned by EEDA, the facility has equipment worth more than £40 million, including an eight-wafer Aixtron MOVPE reactor; in addition, the CIP facilities can support the fabrication of III-V devices through from the initial material design and growth to pilot-scale packaging.

CIP aims to become a self-sustaining business as the EEDA funding reduces over the next few years. In the meantime, the center is operating as a nonprofit organization, with any income reinvested, and so believes it can offer good value to both industry and universities.

-Bridget K. Marx

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