Gemfire raises over $63 million, introduces variable optical attenuator (VOA) array and multi-port pump source array

Mar. 5, 2001--Gemfire, a new integrated photonics company, announced that it has raised over $63 million in its Series C round of funding. Gemfire also introduced a multi-port variable optical attenuator (VOA) array and multi-port pump source array.

Gemfire, an integrated photonics company, announced that it has raised over $63 million in its Series C round of funding, bringing the total investment in the company to date to over $85 million. Cisco Systems, Corning, Finisar, Intel Capital and TriQuint Semiconductor participated in the company's most recent round with additional investments from venture capital firms Hook Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mohr Davidow Ventures and Spring Creek Partners. Specific terms of each investment were not disclosed.

Additional companies that have invested in Gemfire include Eastman Kodak, LG Electronics, Microvision, Inc., and Ricoh Silicon Valley, Inc. Gemfire received its seed funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Mohr Davidow Ventures.

Gemfire, which launched only this month, is focused on providing integrated array-based components for fiber optic applications. Gemfire's mission is to eliminate the primary roadblocks to optical network expansion by integrating component functions through products that deliver disruptive value, performance and functionality.

While announcing its launch into the market, Gemfire also introduced a multi-port variable optical attenuator (VOA) array and multi-port pump source array.

The multi-port variable optical attenuator (VOA) array is designed to provide gain equalization and dynamic saturation control of optical signals. Gemfire's VOA array component device is built on the company's proprietary PhotonIC platform using a unique polymer waveguide design that provides low insertion loss, a small footprint, and electronically controllable attenuation with considerably less power consumption.

The array design enables the device to individually attenuate eight signals through a single planar waveguide device, dramatically reducing the space needed to mount the component. Gemfire's VOA components are capable of delivering more than 30dB of dynamic attenuation while consuming less than 10mW per port of drive power. Additionally, the temperature-insensitive design eliminates the need for a thermo-electric cooler.

Common applications of the VOA array include enabling EDFA gain equalization for DWDM systems, path dependent signal level control and dynamic saturation control at the detector level. The VOA array is the first in a series of polymer PhotonIC switch array products from Gemfire.

Sampling of the VOA array will begin in Q3 2001. Fully automated production runs of the component devices will begin before the end of the year. Evaluation unit pricing for Gemfire's VOA component devices includes full electronic and thermal design solutions to assist in quick evaluation and qualification by integrators.

The multi-port pump source array will provide system integrators with a more cost effective integrated solution for optical amplification. Gemfire's pump source array is built on the company's proprietary planar PhotonIC platform which, like its electronic integrated circuit (IC) predecessor, delivers more functionality at less cost per output than single pump source devices, all in one compact package.

The Gemfire PhotonIC 980nm multi-port pump source array provides eight independently-controllable fiber outputs from a compact, board-mountable optical module. An unprecedented level of device integration yields a pump module with excellent optical functionality, including laser frequency and temperature stabilization and accurate power level sensing, at a substantial cost savings relative to conventional single-fiber pump modules. Ideal applications for this EDFA pump source design include: single channel amplets, loss compensation for optical cross connects; power level control and amplification in banded DWDM networks; optical pre-amplifier arrays for high-speed detector arrays; and pumping of waveguide amplifier arrays or fiber laser transmitter arrays.

In addition to providing node loss compensation or low-noise pre-amplification in metro networks, the pump source array is also scalable to higher power to compensate for span loss in the long-haul market. Gemfire's multi-port pump source array will serve as a building block for other advanced PhotonIC gain products.

Gemfire will begin sampling of its pump source array by the end of Q2 2001. Fully automated production runs of the component devices will begin by the end of the year.

Gemfire's PhotonIC devices will allow system integrators to increase component functionality, while cutting costs substantially. Evaluation unit pricing for Gemfire's pump source array component devices includes full electronic and thermal design solutions to assist in quick evaluation and qualification by integrators.

About Gemfire:

Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Gemfire is an integrated photonics company creating multi-port integrated active components for optical networks. Gemfire's mission is to eliminate the primary roadblocks to optical network expansion by integrating component functions through products that deliver disruptive value, performance and functionality. For more information, visit www.gemfire.com.

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