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ECD Ovonics to Develop New Optical Switching Devices
Sep 2003
ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Sept. 16 -- Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD), a developer of renewable energy and advanced information technologies, announced it has been awarded a multimillion dollar, three-year contract by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Advanced Technology Program to support the development of new optical switching devices based on the company's Ovonic phase-change materials.

The new devices will be able to switch both broadband signals and separate individual signals from dense wavelength division multiplexing signal bundles. They have no moving parts and will provide significantly higher switching speeds, in an all-optical device format, in products that can be made less expensively than current products, the company said. The devices can be applied in major switching nodes and in distributed locations and could expand the delivery of high-content broadband information streams to commercial and residential end users, it added.

The development will build on Ovonic phase-change technology, which is currently used in rewritable CD and DVD optical disks, and which is also being developed for use in nonvolatile semiconductor memory devices through ECD Ovonics' joint venture with Ovonyx Inc. This is the first time the materials will be used for active optical routing devices, ECD said. Ovonyx Inc., which develops and licenses technology and architecture used for memory chips, was formed in 1999 to develop its proprietary phase-change semiconductor memory technology originally developed by ECD.

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