September 9, 2004 Nashua, NH--Startup Prima Luci (White Plains, NY) announced that it had raised $2 million in private funding last week. Incorporated in March 2001, the optical component company is continuing to develop prototypes of its first product, an all-photonic dispersion compensation device. Co-founder and Chief Scientist Dr. Arie Shahar discussed the company's technology roadmap with Kathleen Richards, Lightwave senior editor.
The dispersion compensation device, announced at the Optical Fiber Communications Conference and Exhibition in February, is the first product on a roadmap of components and subsystems developed from the company's core technology, which is based on light controlling light by its own properties without the need for external control signals. Prima Luci is developing what it describes as building blocks for all-photonic components. The components will be constructed using monolithic integration on a chip developed from gallium arsenide and indium gallium arsenide phosphide. The company has filed 26 patents. A patent for the core technology was awarded in February 2003.
"The general principal is based on receiving the optical signal, and splitting it into multiple paths," says Shahar. "In each optical path, there is phase shifting media, and after propagating through the multiple optical paths, we recombine all those signals in special different timings, which means each optical path has a different optical delay. In this configuration, by controlling the amount of the phase shift and the structure of the different timing in which all those signals are recombined, we can achieve different functionalities, and everything is done by the path itself, there is no need for external control."
Engineering samples of the dispersion compensation device, which is designed to correct both polarization mode dispersion and chromatic dispersion, are expected to be ready for evaluation in the first quarter of 2005. Unlike some other approaches, where the dispersion compensation device tries to identify the cause of the dispersion and then reverse the process, Prima Luci's dispersion corrector was developed to address the broadening of the input signal by "chopping" it back to its original width. Of the two patents awarded to the company thus far, one covers the core technology, and the other covers the method for the "all-photonic chopping," according to Shahar. Six optical systems manufacturers have requested engineering samples of the dispersion corrector.
The dispersion corrector, which can support up to 160 Gbits/sec, is based on only one of five building blocks the company is developing using its core technology. "All of the building blocks have exactly the same physical structure," explains Shahar. "The different functionalities are achieved by different selections of the inputs and the outputs of the device." The five building blocks that will be used as the basic units to form modular structures for various applications include an all-photonic threshold device, chopper, 1x2 switch, header reader, and a passive code responsive gate. One or more of these building blocks could serve as the basis applications such as a 1x2 switch, signal-to-noise ratio enhancement, high speed modulator, wavelength conversion, packet routing, packet optical crossconnector, or logic gates for optical computing.
A fabless manufacturer, Prima Luci plans to license its intellectual property and also sell products direct. Frank Colocia, co-founder and chief executive officer, is the seed investor in the company.