SRI International and Chameleon Telecom develop matchbook-sized tunable laser module for MANs

Aug. 28, 2001--SRI International, a research firm based in Silicon Valley, announced it has developed an architecture that allows tunable laser technology to be deployed in fiber optic networks at one-tenth of the physical size and cost of conventional technologies.

SRI International, a research firm based in Silicon Valley, announced it has developed an architecture that allows tunable laser technology to be deployed in fiber optic networks at one-tenth of the physical size and cost of conventional technologies. With Chameleon Telecom, SRI brings tunable laser technology to the price points necessary to allow service providers and network equipment manufacturers to enter the metropolitan area network market.

Available for licensing, SRI's proprietary Chameleon Telecom design provides housing for ten tunable, self-calibrating lasers within a module that is about the size of a matchbook. The individual diode lasers in the package are based on the simplest known tunable laser technology, and, therefore, are easy to produce in any diode laser foundry. If incorporated into DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) networking gear used for maximizing fiber optic capacity, equipment manufacturers could achieve a 90-percent cost reduction on a per-unit-bandwidth basis.

Chameleon Telecom features packaging, stabilization, and self-calibration. SRI's architecture for tunable laser modules addresses the problems that have prevented the acceptance of tunable lasers in the metropolitan area network market. The Chameleon Telecom module features:

* Packaging: SRI's 10-channel module occupies a very small volume -- 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches by 0.3 inches, or just over two-thirds of a cubic inch, allowing network equipment manufacturers to maximize use of the available physical space.

* Stabilization: A microprocessor provides active control for the Chameleon Telecom module, providing very high spectral utilization (as low as one gigahertz channel spacing) and frequency stability (better than +/-0.01 gigahertz). Real-time active frequency control allows the use of components that can be inexpensively manufactured within loose tolerances. This alleviates reliance on expensive, all-optical, conventional laser stabilization techniques.

* Self-Calibration: The module features a built-in, ultra-stable absolute frequency reference, allowing the device to be self-calibrating and highly reliable.

Additionally, the Chameleon Telecom can be constructed using commercial off-the-shelf components. The design also enhances the capabilities of tunable diode laser technology by incorporating internal wavelength stabilization and referencing mechanisms, features that are typically only available at a premium.

About SRI International:

Silicon Valley-based SRI International is an independent research and technology development organization. For more information, visit www.sri.com.

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