Bookham Technology and Colibrys collaborate on new MEMS design

February 26, 2004 Neuchatel, Switzerland, and Agingdon Oxfordshire, UK -- Bookham Technology plc and Colibrys SA have announced they will jointly create and implement variable optical attenuator modules. Bookham has designed and patented three-dimensional MEMS structures with micro-shutters to produce optical attenuation with analog control, while Colibrys has established unique approaches to the fabrication of a MEMS die that embodies the Bookham designs.

Feb 26th, 2004

February 26, 2004 Neuchatel, Switzerland, and Agingdon Oxfordshire, UK -- Bookham Technology plc and Colibrys SA have announced they will jointly create and implement variable optical attenuator modules.

Bookham has designed and patented three-dimensional MEMS structures with micro-shutters to produce optical attenuation with analog control. To successfully commercialize these component parts, Bookham has designed them as generic building blocks that are readily integrated into modules such as dynamic transmitters and receivers.

Colibrys has established unique approaches to the fabrication of a MEMS die that embodies the Bookham designs. In this collaboration, a dedicated snap-apart method is deployed for MEMS-wafer dicing as a necessary replacement for standard semiconductor dicing strategies that prove to be unsuitable for these categories of MEMS devices. This approach delivers high-yield separation (singulation) of MEMS chips in a manner compatible with standard pick-and-place semiconductor equipment and ensures maximum reliability by avoiding particulate generation, say Colibrys representatives.

According to Steve Turley, chief commercial officer of Bookham, the combination of Bookham's designers and Colibry's fabrication has produced a die that is an order of magnitude smaller than its nearest rival. "Bookham's customers benefit from components with reduced size, reduced cost, and reduced power consumption, the three biggest drivers in the telecom industry today," he explains. "This new family of optical components provides both Bookham and our customers with a strategic competitive advantage for the agile network of tomorrow."

"We are delighted to be involved with Bookham in this significant work," adds Sean Neylon, chief executive officer of Colibrys. "It has led to the creation of new ways to integrate design and fabrication. With this kind of cost-conscious thinking and manufacture, our two companies have successfully given birth to a family of building-block optical components. These will help pull forward affordable dynamic modules that will accelerate growth in next generation optical telecommunications. We look forward eagerly to continuing this complementary productive collaboration."

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