July 26, 2005 Somerset, NJ and Allentown, PA -- Component suppliers ASIP Inc. and T-Networks Inc. announced this morning that they will merge to create Apogee Photonics Inc. According to former ASIP CEO Mike Decelle, who will hold the CEO title at Apogee, the combination will leverage ASIP's Asymmetric TwinGuide (ATG) technology and T-Network's electro-absorption modulation expertise to create a broad range of 10-Gbit/sec components. The $9.7 million in new funding also announced today should help that effort.
Both companies produce 10-Gbit/sec lasers using InP, and while the two firms have dabbled in 40-Gbit/sec, Decelle says that the lower speed will remain Apogee's primary focus in the near term. The combined product lines stretch across a wide range of applications -- from devices for 300-m multimode 10GBase-LRM transceivers (a contribution from ASIP, which was farther along on 1310-nm devices) to DWDM long-haul. The application at which the product road maps of the two new teammates intersected is the 80-km, 1550-nm space. Decelle hinted that devices for this application would be among the first new products that benefit from Apogee's newly combined skill sets.
ATG enables ASIP to integrate passive and active functions within the same InP wafer growth. While most integration approaches combine functions laterally, ATG integrates them vertically. For example, the laser source may be on one layer and the laser's modulator may be on the layer below. The company exploits asymmetry between the refractive indices to enable the light to propagate from one layer to the other via a taper etched into the layer containing the laser source; the taper acts as a concentrator and a mode transformer. Devices that incorporate T-Networks' expertise will incorporate that company's intellectual property within the modulator layer, Decelle says.
While Decelle is willing to talk about how Apogee will integrate the merging companies' technologies, he's currently reluctant to reveal many details of how the companies themselves will combine. He says that Apogee will operate only one manufacturing facility, but declines to say which one that will be. As for the company's management structure, T-Networks' CTO and vice president of engineering, Aaron Bond, was listed as Apogee vice president of marketing and business development on a preliminary version of today's press release. Decelle says the rest of Apogee's management structure will become apparent when the firm's new website is finished "in two or three weeks."
Decelle says that the $9.7 million in new funding will go towards facilitating the merger and helping the company to meet what he calls "expanding demand" for 10-Gbit/sec devices across the application spectrum. Existing ASIP and T-Networks investors who participated in the latest funding round include Atlas Venture, BlueRun Ventures, Finaventures, Intel Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and TL Ventures.
-- S. Hardy