August 9, 2006 Philadelphia, PA -- Photonics On-Fiber Devices (POFD) has developed fiber-optic modulators and switches constructed of ordinary optical fibers based on all-fiber technology. Now it's looking for a merger or acquisition partner to bring the devices to market.
The company claims it has developed an alternative to the lithium niobate modulator. The new modulators are constructed of regular optical fibers modified in a small section, by replacing the passive cladding with an active multilayer structure. The active cladding includes a thin layer of an electro-optic (EO) material sensitive to electromagnetic fields. In the presence of an external electromagnetic field, optical properties of EO materials will change, as will the transmission characteristics of optical signals propagating within the fiber core. Liquid crystals as well as solid EO materials, such as EO polymer, can be used as the active cladding layer.
According to POFD, the advantages of using this technology range from simplicity and cost-effectiveness to high efficiency and low signal-to-noise ratio. The modulation is achieved without any interruption to the optical fiber, and can be done at different locations on the same fiber link, the company asserts.
The optical fiber is used as the light transmission line as well as the EO modulator. Thus, the problems of coupling and insertion losses are eliminated, POFD says. In addition, the company estimates that the manufacturing costs of on-fiber polymer modulators are less than 10% of the costs of lithium niobate modulators.
In addition, these modulators can also be used as high-speed switches, the company claims. The switching action is controlled by a high-speed electric signal applied to the active cladding material in the modified section of the optical fiber.
POFD says the technology is fairly mature. Several devices have been successfully fabricated and tested, proof of concept has been completed, and a number of demonstration prototypes have been developed and successfully tested, the company claims. The EO materials used in testing these modulators are pneumatic liquid crystals and different types of EO polymers.
POFD is looking to license the technology to a fiber-optic components manufacturing company through a merger or acquisition. Interested companies should contact POFD's CEO, Dr. M. El-Sherif, at 215-387-9970 or