Through a joint development program launched in August, 2001, Clarendon Photonics Inc., supplier of integrated photonic components, and Micron Technology Inc., provider of memory semiconductor products, announced the successful fabrication of a fully-integrated, 4-channel Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (OADM). The optical waveguide chips, designed with Clarendon's proprietary reconfigurable filter technology, are approximately 1/4 the size of an Intel Pentium 4 processor, claim the companies, and are fabricated at Micron's Boise, ID facility, using Micron's 0.13-mm CMOS process technology.
"The use of existing CMOS production lines is a central element in our business strategy," explains Pierre Villeneuve, founder and chief executive officer of Clarendon Photonics. "Our partnership with Micron was established to develop CMOS-compatible fabrication processes for integrated photonics. Micron's process technology leadership and engineering expertise are essential elements in this partnership and will continue to play a key role in the development of our first commercial products."
Clarendon's 4-channel Reconfigurable OADM prototype targets applications in metro optical network elements. The complete solution, comprising a monolithic optical waveguide chip, optical input and output fibers, and control electronics occupies just 14 in2 of circuit board area. Prototype devices will be displayed by Clarendon Photonics at the Optical Fiber Communications exhibit, March 19 - 21, in Anaheim, CA.
"When Clarendon first suggested a joint development program, we were early in our investigation of integrated optics," recalls Mark Durcan, chief technology officer and vice president of R&D for Micron Technology. "We understand that optical technology will eventually impact the electronic segment. By working with Clarendon, we enhance our ability to accelerate the convergence of optical and electronic technologies."
Clarendon's products are based upon a photonic building block, called a DMR Optical Processor, which can be configured as a filter, switch, variable attenuator or other optical function. Integrated solutions, such as an OADM, are produced by printing multiple copies of the DMR Optical Processor on the silicon chip and interconnecting them, via optical waveguides, in a manner analogous to how integrated circuits are built up from individual transistors. Clarendon's engineers use design verification software to prove design concepts before transferring into silicon. Standardized pick-and-place die bonding, automated wire bonding, and non-hermetic packaging leverage the economies of scale of semiconductor packaging.
"It's no coincidence that Clarendon's business model is more like that of a semiconductor company than that of an optical component company," contends Villeneuve. "We think that this approach will yield the low-cost, highly integrated dynamic optical components needed to enable the development of lower cost, highly scalable, dynamic, metro optical solutions."
For more information about Clarendon Photonics Inc. (Newton, MA), visit the company's Web site at www.clarendonphotonics.com.
To learn more about Micron Technology Inc. (Boise, ID), visit its web site at www.micron.com.