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IME, Fujikura to Make CDCs
Sep 2007
SINGAPORE, Sept. 20, 2007 -- Stabilizing optical signals in high-speed optical networks is the goal of a joint research and development project between Japan's Fujikura Ltd. and the Singapore-based Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

They plan to commercialize a chromatic dispersion compensator (CDC) device targeted at the optical communications market in Japan, the IME said in a statement. IME and Fujikura will jointly develop a CDC device using a novel waveguide grating structure to compensate for chromatic dispersion in optical signals, which causes data distortion over long distances in high-speed telecommunication networks.

The agreement was signed at Fujikura's headquarters on Sept. 5 by Professor Kwong Dim-Lee, executive director of IME, and Takao Shiota, senior vice president of Fujikura Ltd.

In optical fibers, waveforms or light signals broaden over long distances, making the signals difficult to interpret by the receiver. Chromatic dispersion in particular poses a major challenge as the effects increase non-linearly at the rate of the square of the increased speed of the transmission.

"The CDC device provides a robust solution to this challenge by enabling smooth, continuously adjustable tuning of the chromatic dispersion at the optical receiver," the IME said.

Fujikura is a leading manufacturer of optical fiber communication cables. It also develops optical components, optical instruments, electronic and automotive components and other new technologies. For the new project, Fujikura will design ovel optical devices. The device fabrication and wafer dicing will be carried out at IME’s 200-mm silicon wafer processing and packaging facility, where deep ultraviolet lithography will be used to produce photonic crystal structures for the CDC devices.

The fabrication process uses silicon-on-insulator wafers and is fully CMOS-compatible, enabling Fujikura to offer a “plug-and-play product while keeping production costs down, the IME said.

"The market for such optical components is emerging, and demand is expected to accelerate quickly as the transmission rates increase," it said. "In addition, the mandatory and higher usage of the chromatic dispersion compensator in network systems that deploy dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) -- a fiber-optic transmission technique that employs light wavelengths to transmit data -- is expected to fuel the market growth of this device."

Dim-Lee said, “There is strong indication of spending growth in the optical communications industry, with a distinct shift from discrete optical components to more CMOS-based integrated platforms. IME’s partnership with Fujikura is certainly a step in the right direction in using CMOS photonics technology to make low-cost, high-speed, high-quality optical communications a reality.”

Fujikura's president, Kazuhiko Ohashi, said, “Fujikura has a strong position in the fiber optic telecommunication business, especially optical fiber related products. New Generation Network (NGN) is expected to prepare more convenient information technology infrastructure for customers. Fujikura wants to contribute towards NGN with a new type of optical component meeting its requirements. Our photonics technology will be applied to NGN as a critical solution for photonics components.”

IME and Fujikur earlier signed a master collaboration agreement, which will end in December 2008. The IME said as the global demand for optical devices grows, more research partnerships are expected between them in future.

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