13 September 2002 -- At the European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC 2002) in Copenhagen, Denmark, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) foundry MEMSCAP SA announced that it is sampling low-port count photonic switches and variable optical attenuators (VOAs) aimed at metro and access. These are the first products from its new high-volume wafer fabrication facility in Bernin, France.
The foundry is equipped to handle both 6" and 8" wafers. When fully facilitised the 5900m2, USD55m fab will be capable of processing more than 4000 wafers per month, using automated batch manufacturing processing for repeatability and high yields. Also, the acquisition of JDS Uniphase's Cronos MEMS unit, announced in August, will allow MEMSCAP to further expand its optical manufacturing capacity.
The 1x2 and 2x2 port MEMS switches ? which, unlike most MEMS-based switches, offer embedded electronics - are aimed at fibre-optic applications, including network and equipment protection, by-passing in FDDI and SONET, network reconfiguration and monitoring, and redundancy for optical cross-connects. Non-telecoms applications include instrumentation, transceivers and free-space optics.
The switches offer a robust, durable design engineered to exceed Telcordia standards and a scalable architecture enabling development of larger switch arrays. Insertion loss is 0.5-1.0dB and switching speed is 1ms. Samples show operating cycles of greater than 100 million operations.
The packages allow snap-on connection to circuit boards. The switches offer protocol and wavelength independence. Also, MEMSCAP is exploring providing subsystem manufacturers with the MEMS switch engine alone.
MEMSCAP's MEMS-based VOA is a robust, highly linear device for applications requiring gain equalisation of optical input or output. With a large dynamic range and low power consumption, the VOA is protocol and wavelength independent, making it suitable for dynamic channel balancing for DWDM systems, power management in multi-stage optical amplifiers and as a building block for multi-function integration. The VOA is available as a die or as a fully packaged device, with or without electronics.