Southampton's L-band amplifier 'breakthrough'

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Southampton Photonics Inc intends to enter the L-band fibre amplifier market using its GTWave fibre to achieve what it describes as "cost savings of 50% or better, depending on the application."

The UK-based company believes that the L-band (1565-1605nm) will play an increasingly important role in upcoming WDM product releases, where it offers a number of technical benefits over the C-band (1525-1565nm).

Its flatter gain profile means less costly electronics for gain correction. Also, being further away from the zero-dispersion wavelength means more dispersion and therefore lower four-wave mixing.

Analyst company RHK has predicted that by 2003 the L-band will account for 14% of all gain modules. A limit to this penetration has been the cost of the amplifiers due to an increase in the required pump powers. Southampton Photonics will use its GTWave speciality fibre to produce the L-band gain modules.

GTWave uses a central doped-core signal fibre around which one pump fibre is entwined. It offers better absorption of the pump source energy.

CEO Dr David Parker said, "The industry is recognising that L-band can offer the carriers many benefits for next-generation WDM systems and this is an excellent time for us to enter this market."

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