Sparkolor Corp. has demonstrated the operation of a tunable laser operating at 25-GHz channel spacing in DWDM systems. The laser is based on Sparkolor's low-cost Planar Hybrid Integration (PHI) technology, which demonstrates that high performance is achievable in lasers that can reach extremely low cost points, claim company representatives.
Sparkolor's PHI technology combines the mature manufacturing processes of silicon wafers with the high gain of off-the-shelf InP, which has improved manufacturing yields and lowered packaging costs. The planar aspects of the technology allow the use of the same wafer-scale manufacturing techniques that have allowed the costs of computer chips to drop by half every 18 months. The hybrid integration aspects allow the various parts of a laser to be built from different materials, which means that each part of the laser is optimized separately, without requiring performance tradeoffs. The result is a Hybrid Distributed Bragg Reflector (HDBR) laser, with excellent performance specifications that can be manufactured at extremely low cost, claims the company.
"The ability to tune to 25-GHz channel spacing shows that these lasers have the precision tuning characteristics to obsolete most fixed-wavelength DWDM source lasers by 2005," claims Steffen Koehler, Sparkolor's vice president of marketing. "Previously, no lasers were able to simultaneously achieve narrow channel spacing, a wide tuning range, and high, flat output power in a laser that is commercially competitive when compared to fixed-wavelength lasers."
Several DWDM systems manufacturers have indicated their intention to manufacture DWDM systems using 25-GHz channel spacing within the next few years. Currently, most such systems operate at 50- or 100-GHz spacing.
Sparkolor's laser was demonstrated across 26 channels. Deacon pointed out that the technology can be readily extended to 200 channels, covering the entire C-band. The company plans to add comparable devices in the L-band.
Sparkolor Corp. (Santa Clara, CA) develops and manufactures WDM communications components and modules. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.sparkolor.com.