Fiberoptics Industry Report

Arasor acquires Lightbit and IOA; BU opens optics lab; Bookham partners on MEMS design; MORE...

Apr 1st, 2004

Arasor acquires Lightbit and IOA

Arasor (Fremont, CA), a developer of integrated circuits for wired and wireless communications networks, has acquired Lightbit (Mountain View, CA), an optical subsystem provider. As part of this deal, Arasor has also acquired Intelligent Optical Amplifier (IOA), a developer of intelligent amplifiers that Lightbit purchased in 2002. The deals were completed in exchange for an undisclosed amount of cash and preferred stock. Arasor, which was founded in 2001, is privately funded and has facilities in Yokohama, Japan; Shanghai, China; and Nansha, China.

Larry Marshall, Lightbit CEO, will become a member of Arasor's board of directors, where he will help leverage Arasor's technology into products that extend beyond telecommunications. In addition to Lightbit, Marshall has founded four successful photonics startups during the past 16 years. Arasor will retain the existing Lightbit and IOA teams and Lightbit's optical fabrication facility and will consolidate at Lightbit's headquarters in Mountain View.

BU opens optics lab

The new Integrated Optics Laboratory at the Photonics Center at Boston University (Boston, MA) is officially open for business. The laboratory is designed to facilitate hybrid integration, device characterization, and measurement of active and passive photonics devices for industrial collaboration and faculty research. The new 2400-sq-ft facility, complete with a 400-sq-ft Class 100 clean room, is expected to see significant activity in the development of smart substrates and low-cost hybrid optical component integration. Construction was funded by a cooperative agreement contract with the Army Research Laboratory (Adelphi, MD).

Agilent Technologies, a leading provider of components, test, measurement, monitoring, and management solutions for the communications industry, was a major sponsor for equipping the new laboratory. The equipment, which includes the latest suite of Agilent's 10-GHz optical test and measurement solutions, will be accessible to the Center's Business Accelerator companies and partners focusing on the development of optical technology products.

Bookham partners on MEMS design

MEMS designs and fabrication processes have been jointly established through a complementary relationship between Bookham Technology (London, England) and Colibrys (Neuchâtel, Switzerland) to create and implement variable optical attenuator modules. Bookham Technology has designed and patented three-dimensional MEMS structures with micro-shutters to produce optical attenuation with analog control. To successfully commercialize these parts, Bookham has designed them as generic building blocks that can be integrated into modules such as dynamic transmitters and receivers. Through their collaboration, a dedicated snap-apart method is deployed for MEMS-wafer dicing as a replacement for standard semiconductor dicing strategies that prove unsuitable for these categories of MEMS devices.

Avanex divests PLC business

Avanex (Fremont, CA) has opted to sell off the silica planar lightwave circuit (PLC) business in Livingston, Scotland rather than shut down the factory completely. According to the companies, the passive PLC products from Avanex's U.K. operations will complement the polymer PLC dynamic waveguide products of Gemfire. As part of the agreement, Gemfire will acquire all outstanding capital stock of the U.K. subsidiary of Avanex, and Avanex will acquire a minority equity interest in GC Holdings, parent company of Gemfire. After the acquisition, Gemfire will specialize in providing integrated planar WDM solutions to the optical networking systems market. The Livingston facility was originally established by Kymata, which was sold to Alcatel Optronics in 2001 and then to Avanex in July 2003.

Also in the news . . .

Emcore (Somerset, NJ) and Corona Optical Systems (Lombard, IL) have signed a cross-licensing agreement for parallel optical transmitters and receivers, giving Emcore exclusive license to manufacture and sell OptoCube 40 parallel optical transmitter and receiver modules and Corona a license to manufacture and sell Emcore's Model 9512 12-channel parallel optical receiver and transmitter modules. . . . CorActive (Quebec City, Quebec, Canada) signed an exclusive agreement with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory for the manufacture of its mid-infrared transmission fiber. This exclusive agreement will see all commercial manufacturing and future development of the mid-IR transmission fiber by CorActive. . . . u2t Photonics (Berlin, Germany) a provider of optoelectronic components for fiberoptic systems, has expanded its global sales and customer support team. u2t Photonics' products and customer support will be represented by TeraComm (Guilford, CT) in the eastern region and UR Group (San Diego, CA) in the western region.

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