MONA paints picture of nanoscale world

While the role of nanotechnology in many recent photonics advances may be intuitively obvious, a recently released report from the EU offers an unusually comprehensive look at the broader impact of combining “opto” and “nano” technologies—nanophotonics.

Mar 1st, 2008
Th Sanderson

While the role of nanotechnology in many recent photonics advances may be intuitively obvious, a recently released report from the EU offers an unusually comprehensive look at the broader impact of combining “opto” and “nano” technologies—nanophotonics. Although the focus is Europe’s current status and future competitiveness in nanophotonics, the MONA (Merging Optics and Nanotechnologies) report includes technology roadmaps and market information that are relevant globally. The MONA roadmaps identify key nanomaterials likely to have the strongest impact in nanophotonics, the equipment and processes that are crucial for improving performance of nanophotonic devices, and key devices for major applications. One recommendation is that Europe should maintain its current level of R&D for datacom/telecom—specifically for further integration of optical and electronic chips—and its competence in optical interconnects to compete with the USA where DARPA, large microelectronics companies, and startups are already very active (see www.ist-mona.org).

Two of these large companies named in the report are Intel and IBM. Both companies have recently reported advances in nanoscale photonics aimed primarily at optical communications and/or interconnects. In one example, IBM’s new silicon-based Mach-Zender modulator that’s depicted on this month’s cover is up to 1000 times smaller than previously demonstrated modulators of its kind (see page 61).

Larry’s VC View

Serial entrepreneur and long-time LFW Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Larry Marshall is transitioning from running photonics startups to funding them. He recently completed the first IPO of a Silicon Valley company on the Australian exchange, and is now a Partner at the first Australian financed Venture fund to operate in Silicon Valley. Read about his foray into the world of funding photonics firms in his new blog at laserfocusworld.com. Larry shares his experiences, lessons, and mistakes with fellow entrepreneurs seeking venture funding.

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Stephen G. Anderson
Associate Publisher/Editor in Chief
stevega@pennwell.com

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