We could all use a lift here in the dead of winter, as we think about the timetable for improving economic conditions and the introduction of new products. So I propose that we look ahead with some confidence to OFC 2002 in Anaheim, CA, in March, and believe that the powerful "lift-off" stage of the industry's growth has ended, clearing the way for a more sustainable period of growth.
The development of a technology for boosting power in wavelengths of light is what made large-scale optical networking possible in the first place. The erbium-doped fiber amplifier continues to perform this task admirably, but lately it has been joined by other amplifiers that add new functions. For example, the semiconductor optical amplifier, as described in this issue by Bart Verbeek and his colleagues at JDS Uniphase, is rapidly moving from promising research project to an important commercial product with numerous applications. Raman amplification—once a questionable line of development—is now attaining widespread acceptance based in part on innovations in pump lasers, as discussed by Swami Srinivasan at Princeton Lightwave.
Amplification is only one of the benefits of recent developments in the design and manufacture of specialty optical fiber, which forms the heart of some amplifiers. Abdel Soufiane and his colleagues at IntelCore Technologies describe the ways in which this fiber improves component performance, simplifies manufacturing processes, and reduces material costs. And finally the dynamic WDM networks enabled by these amplification technologies need to be controlled. Craig Armiento and Yuri A. Yudin at LightChip Optical Networking explain how wavelength managers enable distributed monitoring and centralized reporting of all DWDM channels at multiple locations, especially in metro networks.
Boosting our own product, we have teamed with Nikkei Electronics, the largest electronics magazine in Japan, to publish Japanese versions of articles first appearing in WDM Solutions. We also cosponsored with Nikkei Electronics the Fiber Optic Forum in Tokyo this past December. Fortunately, there remains no shortage of interest in optical networking technology around the globe, and WDM Solutions will continue launching new projects to help meet this demand.
W. Conard Holton
Associate Publisher/Editor in Chief