Bookham amplifier hits 10,000-hour life-test landmark

OCTOBER 21, 2008 -- Bookham says it has demonstrated the reliability and stability of telecom amplifier and pump technology with the results from a 10,000-hour amplifier life-test and a 38,000-hour discrete pump level life-test.

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OCTOBER 21, 2008 -- Bookham Inc. (search for Bookham) today claims that it has demonstrated the reliability and stability of its telecom amplifier and pump technology with the results from a 10,000-hour amplifier life-test and a 38,000-hour discrete pump level life-test. The results demonstrate the inherent quality and performance of the Bookham amplifier design and the Mini-DIL uncooled 980-nm pump laser modules used within, say company representatives. 

The three customised, compact, high-power amplifier gainblocks that underwent the testing were a small form-factor design, taking advantage of the compact package size and low-power consumption of the Mini-DIL uncooled pumps. These amplifiers operate at +19-dBm output power and are typically deployed in single-channel applications within metro networks.

"The industry norm for life-testing amplifiers and other high value modules and subsystems is just 2,000 hours--we've carried out these life-tests to conclusively show that our amplifiers and pumps have industry-leading quality and reliability," reports Bookham director of product management, Mark Ives. "The market for line-side amplifier solutions is extremely competitive and is played out between just three dominant companies, so the systems houses look at product reliability as a key differentiator."

"We are now at 10,000 hours for the amplifiers, but this testing will continue to build up valuable reliability information and prove the quality of the Bookham product," he adds.

The parameters measured, in-situ every six minutes, included output power, noise-figure, and input and output monitor responses. The measurements read the health of the entire amplifier assembly, including all of the active and passive subcomponents within. The results demonstrated the high reliability of the design itself, the components, and the manufacturing process, says the company.

In a separate, discrete pump level extended life-test, a sample of Bookham Mini-DIL uncooled pumps have been running at 200 mW and 70 ° C--the product's uppermost operating conditions--for in excess of 38,000 hours, equivalent to approximately 20 years of operations at 'use' conditions. The pump life-test has revealed zero failures and shows no indication of any onset of 'wear out'. The Bookham Mini-DIL and other pump products are underpinned by chips from the company's Zurich facility, which also support submarine applications where far greater reliability and stability are demanded than in terrestrial networks.

The Bookham portfolio of pump laser modules includes the fully Telcordia qualified, uncooled 750-mW pump, which offers operating temperatures from -20 ° C to +75 ° C, providing reliable performance in central office applications, office under fault conditions, and uncontrolled environments, claim company representatives. This is believed to be the only pump module to offer 750-mW power at such broad operating temperatures. The 750-mW pump module was launched at OFC/NFOEC 2007 and has been shipping in volume for over 18 months.

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The Bookham high power amplifier gainblock contains two Bookham Mini-DIL uncooled 980-nm pump laser modules.
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