Missile boost for NP Photonics

12 March 2003NP Photonics has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract by the US Government's Missile Defense Agency.

12 March 2003NP Photonics, Tucson, AZ, US, a supplier of optical components and modules for the sensing and telecommunications markets, has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the US Government's Missile Defense Agency.

Worth USD750,000 over the next two years, the contract will support further development of NP Photonics' multimode-pumped, monolithic gain array. The device offers low-cost amplification throughout a variety of optical communication and fibre-optic sensing networks.

"The SBIR program is quite competitive, so it's an honour for us to have been awarded the contract," said Chuck Chandler, CEO of NP Photonics. "Our development team has created a special gain array that combines the high performance features of standard erbium-doped fibre amplifiers with the compact size and ease of integration of semiconductor-based amplifiers."

In Phase I of the MDA SBIR Program, NP Photonics developed a low cost fiber drawing method using erbium-doped phosphate glass to produce the gain array. The company then successfully built and tested the multimode-pumped, monolithic gain array.

The 30mm-long gain array chip, powered by one multimode pump diode, delivers greater than 15dB of peak optical gain at each of three ports with a low optical noise figure (<6.0 dB). In Phase II, NP Photonics will continue investigating its concept and will develop a verified prototype.

Designed to stimulate technological innovation in the small business sector, the Federal SBIR Program typically consists of three phases. During Phase I, companies must demonstrate the scientific, technical and commercial merit of a novel idea.

In Phase II, companies pursue further research and the development of a well-defined prototype. In the final phase of the program, the company develops the demonstrated prototype into a viable product for sale in the military and/or private sector.

Founded in 1998, NP Photonics is the originator of Erbium Micro Fibre (EMF) technology and is dedicated to the design, manufacture and marketing of compact, low-cost, intelligent fiber-based products for the sensing and telecommunications industries.

The company has developed a broad family of products based on its EMF and Compliant MEMS technology, including tunable filters, Optical Spectrum Analyser Engines, fiber lasers, ASE Sources and fiber amplifiers.

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