16 June 2003 Grenoble, France, and Tel Aviv, Israel Lightwave--MEMSCAP, a provider of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology, and GalayOr, a developer of an all-silicon optical system-on-a-chip, announced the signing of a partnership agreement to produce and commercialize a digital variable optical attenuator (DVOA).
Capitalizing on GalayOr's developments and MEMSCAP's packaging and production expertise, the two companies will bring to market a new generation of optical products, starting with an integrated closed loop DVOA. This DVOA for telecommunication systems and subsystems, developed after several years of research by GalayOr and based upon its Silicon PhotonICs technology, will be available for sampling at MEMSCAP starting in the fourth quarter. The core technology consists of moving silicon waveguides. In order to perform functions such as attenuation, switching, filtering or alignment, these waveguides can be shifted in and out the silicon plane by MEMS.
The DVOA will first undergo a final research and development process at MEMSCAP facility, where it will be produced, packaged, tested, and qualified using very large-scale integration processes and packaging. Commercialization, managed by MEMSCAP, will begin in high volume during the second phase, expected to start in 2004.
The DVOA was developed through a coordinated effort of three companies: MEMSCAP, GalayOr, and Analog Devices, which developed the electronic control circuitry that includes high precision log amplifiers. It integrates the functionalities of several different optical and electronic discrete components into a single module measuring only 42 x 17 x 10 mm, and allows on-board microprocessor control, alarm reporting, on-board input/output optical power monitoring, automatic calibration, optical automatic power control with continuous power adjustment to environmental changes and aging. The device removes all analog and mixed signal design complexities from the system designer side and provides a user-friendly control via a standard I²C/SPI or RS232 digital communication interface for a plug-and-play VOA solution. The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation sponsored product development at GalayOr and Analog Devices.
The purpose of GalayOr/ MEMSCAP alliance is twofold: the first step is the optimization of the product for volume manufacturing; the second step is commercialization, through the MEMSCAP sales channel.
"The combination of GalayOr's moving silicon waveguides technology with MEMSCAP proven track record in commercialization of first class optical components open great new opportunities for both companies. I am confident that the closed-loop DVOA has a great market potential with telecom system vendors based on the product's ability to meet their cost, integration, and functionality requirements," says Dr.Uri Geiger, GalayOr chief executive officer. The current customer base exceeds 25 customers, including major system integrator companies.
"Our expertise and know-how in the communications industry, including optical products, is one of the strong assets of MEMSCAP," says Jean-Michel Karam MEMSCAP chief executive officer. "Our state-of-the-art foundry, technical expertise, patents and market presence, give us the width and tools to further the excellent development by GalayOr. This alliance with GalayOr is a milestone in the optical communications industry."