April 1, 2008
Telecommunications components company Gemfire (Fremont, CA) completed a merger with Covega (Jessup, MD), a provider of indium phosphide and lithium niobate components and modules to the telecom, industrial, medical, defense, and test and measurement industries.

Merger aims at next-generation photonics

Telecommunications components company Gemfire (Fremont, CA) completed a merger with Covega (Jessup, MD), a provider of indium phosphide and lithium niobate components and modules to the telecom, industrial, medical, defense, and test and measurement industries. Covega will become a wholly owned subsidiary and the active-component division of Gemfire’s growing planar-light-circuit (PLC) product family. “Through integration of more optical functions into PLCs, it is possible to provide better performance and cost-effective solutions to meet the needs of large system integrators under pressure to deliver solutions capable of supporting the rapid growth in demand for bandwidth,” said Richard Tompane, president and CEO of Gemfire.

Acquisition of Intel’s telecom is complete

Emcore (Albuquerque, NM) completed its acquisition, announced in December 2007, of the telecom-related portion of Intel’s Optical Platform Division (see The purchase price was $85 million in cash and common stock. According to Emcore, the acquisition enhances its presence in the telecommunications market segment and expands its fiber-optics product portfolio. “Emcore is now one of a very few companies able to offer customers products for long-haul telecom, DWDM, enterprise and storage applications,” said Stephen Krasulick, vice president and general manager of Emcore’s Digital Products Division. “Furthermore, Emcore will leverage its infrastructure of contract manufacturing and the vertical integration on both the long- and short-wavelength products to continue its cost reduction effort.”

Component market to reach $6 billion by 2012

Market research firm Ovum RHK (London, England) posted a new optical component five-year forecast for wide-area network (WAN), datacom, and access components. Merchant demand is led by WAN optical components—growing to $3.5 billion in 2012—followed by datacom at $1.5 billion, and access at $0.97 billion. Total demand for 40 Gbit/s modules is expected to reach nearly $900 million by 2012 and total demand for 10 Gbit/s modules will reach 1.6 billion by 2012.

“Bandwidth demand is strong in all segments of the market as carriers deploy new networks to support rapid growth in bandwidth-intensive services,” says Daryl Inniss, vice president at Ovum. “The optical-component (OC) suppliers are challenged with managing a torrid market appetite for new products. Fortunately the demand exists, but OC suppliers must ramp production, manage suppliers, contract manufacturers, and inventory and introduce new products to maximize revenues and margins.”

Corning and Infinera partner for the long-haul

At OFC/NFOEC 2008, Corning (Corning, NY) and photonic-integrated-circuit manufacturer Infinera (Sunnyvale, CA) demonstrated how optimal integration of their optical-fiber and transmission-system products enable simplified and cost-effective long-haul network designs. The first demonstration showed long, unamplified optical reach using Infinera’s Raman amplification and Corning’s SMF-28 ULL fiber, which enables carriers to significantly reduce amplification requirements to eliminate two or three amplification sites traditionally required in a network with 80 or 100 km spans. The second demonstration involved using Infinera’s network to transmit over six 100 km spans of Corning LEAF fiber with no in-line dispersion compensation.

IPtronics closes $10.25 million in funding

Silicon-component supplier IPtronics (Roskilde, Denmark) closed more than $10 million in series B funding to accelerate sales and product development.

IPtronics supplies integrated circuits to the emerging market for parallel optical interconnects, a market forecast to replace electrical high-speed connections in next-generation computer systems and storage networks. “Power consumption is the paramount challenge for higher-speed electrical interconnects, and here optical interconnects play a potential vital role,” said IPtronics CEO Niels Finseth.

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Also in the news . . .

Laboratory-management, national-security, energy-technology, and health- and life-sciences company Battelle (Columbus, OH) acquired the intellectual property and other assets of Optimer Photonics (also in Columbus), which was formed in 2001 to commercialize the electro-optic waveguide components developed at Battelle for the telecommunications industry. . . . Monitoring Division (Sunnyvale, CA), a network-performance-monitoring company that recently launched a new optical signal-to-noise ratio monitor, raised $3.85 million in its initial round of funding. . . . IRphotonics (Montreal, QC, Canada), a provider of infrared fiber and materials, was awarded a contract by ABB to supply IR optical-fiber assemblies for analysis systems that allow remote real-time monitoring of continuous and batch processes in the refining, chemical, pharmaceutical, food, and semiconductor industries.

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