Fiberoptics Industry Report

Sept. 1, 2004
Crystal Fibre to acquire Blaze Photonics; MSA targets cooled transmitter optical subassemblies; Thales and Alcatel set up telecom research lab; MORE...

Crystal Fibre to acquire Blaze Photonics

Crystal Fibre (Copenhagen, Denmark), a subsidiary of NKT, plans to acquire the assets of Blaze Photonics (Bath, England) for US$3.3 million. Crystal Fibre and BlazePhotonics have been the leading players in the development and manufacture of microstructured optical fibers. Crystal Fibre was established in 2000 as a joint venture between COM Centret and research staff at the Technical University of Denmark. In 2001, Crystal Fibre moved from the Technical University of Denmark to its current facility in Birkerod, north of Copenhagen, where NKT has concentrated its optical communication activities.

Blaze Photonics was established in 2001 to commercialize crystal fiber technology developed by Philip Russell and his research team at the University of Bath in the early 1990s. In addition to his academic role at the university, Russell served as CTO of Blaze Photonics. The company has focused on developing hollow-core crystal fibers and has demonstrated transmission loss as low at 1.72 dB/km.

MSA targets cooled transmitter optical subassemblies

Bookham Technology (Oxfordshire, England), JDS Uniphase (San Jose, CA), Northlight Optronics (Jarfalla, Sweden), T-Networks (Allentown, PA), and TriQuint Optoelectronics (Breinigsville, PA) signed a multisource agreement (MSA) for standardizing 1550-nm, 2.5-Gbit/s cooled transmitter optical subassemblies (TOSAs). A standard cooled, wavelength-specific TOSA would be a key component in building transmission systems capable of serving multiple market segments, which would reduce system developers' costs while expanding performance and offering new functionality.

The new standard for a miniature, high-performance cooled TOSA enables several advanced capabilities. Systems developers can integrate dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) in 2.5-Gbit/s small-form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceivers. This will permit network equipment and transceiver/transponder manufacturers to build a single platform serving both datacom and telecom applications, including 2.5-Gbit/s DWDM SFP and line cards. The new MSA also enables optical transmission up to 640 km, rather than the traditional 80 km and employs pluggable optics for easier, less costly manufacturing.

A butterfly package design has been the historical choice for DWDM applications. The cooled TOSA MSA specification is one-fifth the size and with one-quarter to one-third lower power consumption of legacy butterfly packages. This provides customers with similar optical performance as current butterfly-based directly-modulated and electro-absorption modulated lasers, but with greater options and reduced cost.

Thales and Alcatel set up telecom research lab

Thales and Alcatel have created a joint research laboratory dedicated to semiconductor technologies for applications in telecommunications, defense, space, and security. The laboratory, known as the Alcatel-Thales III-V Lab, will be managed by a consortium (Groupement d'Interêt Economique) equally held by Thales and Alcatel. It combines the relevant industrial research activities from Alcatel, European research leader in optoelectronic components for telecommunications, and from Thales, European leader in hyperfrequency optoelectronic and microelectronic R&D for defense applications.

With about 100 researchers, the lab is located on two sites: one in Marcoussis, within Alcatel's French research center, and the other in Palaiseau on the campus of the Polytechnique institute where Thales' future research center will be located. The main fields of research are optoelectronic and microelectronic components for optical-fiber transmission (InP HBT circuits, laser sources, modulators, and photodetectors), GaN-based high-frequency, high-power transistors and circuits, infrared imaging photodetectors, and high-power laser diodes.

Also in the news . . .

Siemens Information and Communications Network Group (Munich, Germany) is contributing its optical-network-technology expertise to the Vertically Integrated Optical Testbed for Large Applications (VIOLA) project in Germany. VIOLA is being financed with ¤10 million (US$12.3 million) by the Germany Ministry of Education and Research. . . . Fabrinet (San Francisco, CA) signed a volume supply agreement with Opnext (Eatontown, NJ) whereby Fabrinet will manufacture Opnext's 2.5- and 10-Gbit/s optical transceivers for ultra-long-haul SONET/SDH and WDM applications. Opnext has already begun moving its transceiver manufacturing capabilities to Fabrinet's Thailand facility. . . . The University College Cork's Cork Constraint Computation Centre (Cork, Ireland) and Ireland's National Microelectronics Research Centre's Photonics Research Group will receive up to ¤7 million (US$8.24 million) in funding as part of the recently announced research initiative to establish the ¤26 million (US$31.3 million) Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain-Driven.

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