Little Optics unveils design services

18 July, 2003, Annapolis Junction, MD, Lightwave -- Little Optics, Inc., a developer of high-index optical waveguide materials for planar lightwave circuits (PLCs), has inaugurated design and fabrication services for what it calls "Optical Application Specific Integrated Circuits" (optical ASICs). The company will target these services to the communications, defense, and bio-sensor industries.

Jul 18th, 2003

18 July, 2003, Annapolis Junction, MD, Lightwave -- Little Optics, Inc., a developer of high-index optical waveguide materials for planar lightwave circuits (PLCs), has inaugurated design and fabrication services for what it calls "Optical Application Specific Integrated Circuits" (optical ASICs). The company will target these services to the communications, defense, and bio-sensor industries.

Little Optics says its optical ASIC service reduces upfront non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs and shortens product development time. The service leverages the company's low-loss, high-index contrast glass materials, "pick and place" lithography techniques, and 5x stepper to provide high optical fidelity. As the core/cladding index contrast of the glass can be fabricated up to 25%, the resulting die sizes are dramatically reduced, the company claims, yielding a 10x to 100x increase in the number of circuits per wafer. As an example, for a given complex design Little Optics says it can reduce the required number of masks by a factor of 5 and shorten the full development cycle a factor of 4 to 6.

The company offers a library of circuit elements incorporating all devices available on conventional low-index PLC platforms plus unique devices such as micro-ring resonators, multilayer optical vias, polarization beam splitters, polarization converters/rotators, tunable amplitude and phase filters, and crossbar switches. These elements can be linked to build customized circuits. Little Optics also offers mode transformers to match the modal profile of high-index waveguides to conventional singlemode fiber.

The optical ASIC development system is designed to facilitate low-cost development and production of custom subsystems-on-a-chip such as VOA/multiplexers, optical add/drop multiplexers, optical performance monitors, programmable delay lines for phased array antennas, and chemical/bio-sensors. Little Optics generally develops embedded controls for the optical ASICs.

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