Bookham launching 'solution-level smart optoelectronic integration'

2 June 2003 Northamptonshire, UK Lightwave Europe--Bookham Technology will present at next week's Semiconductor 2003 Conference in Scotland its radical approach to meeting the needs of the optical communications industry to cut costs while increasing functionality.

2 June 2003 Northamptonshire, UK--Bookham Technology will present at next week's Semiconductor 2003 Conference in Scotland its radical approach to meeting the needs of the optical communications industry to cut costs while increasing functionality.

Arguing that a key requirement of optoelectronic component suppliers is now the delivery of solution-level products, rather than discrete optical components, to equipment manufacturers, Bookham has selected three semiconductor processes that allow smarter integration by driving down costs while simultaneously enhancing system functionality.

Bookham's paper shows how scalable high-yield multiwafer processes based on InP, GaAs and silicon individually allow the monolithic integration of multiple functions, while hybrid integration of the processes together leads to optical solutions in single modules at significant cost savings over conventional approaches using discrete components.

"This approach is primarily aimed at reducing cost for the equipment manufacturer both in engineering and assembly," says Andrew Carter, Bookham Technology VP of Research and the paper's author.

"Vendors of metro and long-haul optical systems are under terrific pressure from the current slashing of capex budgets by their carrier customers, and the only way out for them is to cut their own costs as well. Bookham has now shown that smart optoelectronic solution integration will help them achieve this goal."

Such solutions must be designed to be cost effective - offering costs substantially below discrete components - and must be compatible with subcontract board manufacture without the traditional and expensive skills of fibre handling, splicing and management.

An example of such an integrated solution is a DWDM laser transmitter subsystem, with modulation, wavelength and power management all included in a simple-to-use module.

A high degree of optical/optoelectronic integration is essential to the cost-effective production of such solutions, which can also enable system concepts that are virtually impossible to achieve with discrete components.

Bookham uses a unique combination of hybrid and monolithic integration technologies to reach very high levels of integration and functionality that cannot be realised with conventional approaches.

Integration on InP enables tunable lasers to be fabricated in a monolithic process with power performance close to that of discrete DFB lasers, and with scalable volume manufacture - for both chip and assembly - using industry-standard processes and tools. This allows tunable sources to compete directly with fixed-wavelength options in all DWDM applications. InP-based modulators offer high performance together with minimal footprint and are ideal devices for integration into small-form-factor transponders.

GaAs offers many outstanding features as the ultimate performance integrated modulator platform, competing directly with conventional lithium-niobate devices in all areas. Excellent optical performance, with speeds well beyond 40Gbit/s, is matched by intrinsic manufacturability, with more than 200 die sites per 6-in wafer for a standard 10Gbit/s modulator/VOA chip.

GaAs modulators can be readily co packaged with lasers, giving compact integrated transmitters. Several different optical elements can be cost effectively integrated onto the GaAs chip, cutting costs by eliminating components, simplifying packaging and reducing board area.

Bookham's unique silicon-on-insulator ASOC waveguide process integrates features that are difficult or impossible to achieve in other PLC technologies such as silica on silicon. A wide range of functions can be integrated with minimal impact on chip process cost or yield, giving an excellent platform for smart passive integration, such as required in a multifunctional OADM.

The conference
The Semiconductor Conference is a leading European event on the semiconductor industry calendar. The theme of the Semiconductor 2003 Conference is to identify the technological and commercial trends determining the future of the III-Vs, compound, MEMS and mainstream semiconductor market.

It will be held at the EICC, Edinburgh, Scotland, 10-11 June 2003. Details are available at www.semiconductor2k.com

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