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Infinera Buys Little Optics

Photonics.com
Feb 2007
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 16, 2007 -- Digital optical network systems provider Infinera announced yesterday it has acquired University of Maryland startup company Little Optics, a maker of planar lightwave circuits for optical communications systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Based in Annapolis Junction, Md., Little Optics develops integrated optical devices using planar lightwave technology and proprietary glass materials for communications, military and sensing applications. The company was founded in 2000 by Brent Little and John Hryniewicz, both formerly of the Lab for Physical Sciences at the University of Maryland. 

The company's 35,000-sq-ft facility in Annapolis Junction includes a 4000-sq-ft cleanroom for wafer fabrication. Its proprietary technology was developed with funding from the Department of Defense; Little Optics was bought in 2005 by ICX Nomadics, a Stillwater, Okla.-based business primarily involved in creating explosives detection systems for homeland security. Infinera bought Little Optics from ICX Nomadics. 

Infinera's large-scale photonic integrated circuit (PIC) incorporates 100 G/s of transmit-and-receive capacity and the functionality of more than 60 discrete optical components into a pair of indium phosphide chips. Infinera said when Little Optics' proprietary glass-based substrate, Hydex, and its VLSI Photonics platform combine with its PIC, the result will be superior to traditional planar lightwave technology.

"Integration has enabled Infinera to develop the digital architecture which is designed to be more flexible, simpler, and quicker to deploy," said Infinera Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Dave Welch. "When integrated into our product, we believe that Little Optics' technology will bring new capabilities and significant benefits to our photonic integrated circuits and will enable us to enhance the features and capabilities of our digital optical networks."

Infinera said it is merging the Little Optics team of approximately 22 employees with the existing Infinera engineering team based at its facility in Annapolis Junction, near Baltimore.

For more information, visit: www.infinera.com


GLOSSARY
optical
Pertaining to optics and the phenomena of light.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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