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14 April 2009


Ignis signs letter of intent to acquire Syntune

Ignis ASA of Oslo, Norway, which makes optical components for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure, has signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire Syntune AB of Stockholm, Sweden.

Syntune was founded in January 2003, when it acquired an exclusive worldwide license to a patent on the ‘modulated grating Y-branch’ (MG-Y) tunable laser design, jointly owned by Leuven-based IMEC and Ghent University in Belgium and UK-based Gayton Photonics Ltd. MG-Y technology was developed as part of the EU-funded project NEWTON (New Widely Tunable Lasers for Optical Networks), in which Stockholm-based tunable laser manufacturer Altitun/ADC (former home to several Syntune executives) was a partner.

The MG-Y design provides a wide tuning range, high output power, a high side-mode suppression ratio, low power consumption, and fast tuning. Syntune’s indium phosphide-based technology platform provides single-chip tunable lasers and transmitters that are claimed to be the industry’s smallest and lowest cost, for applications from sensor systems to fiber-optic communications. The technology is Telcordia certified.

In April 2008, Syntune took a controlling equity stake in Svedice AB of Järfälla, Sweden, which provides InP-based foundry services. Syntune had previously partnered with Svedice to fabricate its products, including what was claimed to be the first commercially available, widely tunable transmitter on a single chip.

Last September, Syntune announced its participation in GigaWaM, a project funded by €3m grant from the European Commission (EC) to develop WDM-PON, a next-generation passive optical network technology that uses wavelength-division multiplexing, enabling high-bandwidth services including high-definition TV and video on demand. A major goal is to provide a lower cost per user for Gigabit PON (GPON) systems, while increasing the bandwidth per user by more than a factor of ten through developing low-cost application-specific optical components with a high level of integration and improved manufacturing processes.

The project was initiated by Ignis’ subsidiary Ignis Photonyx A/S of Birkerød, Denmark, which makes silica-on-silicon and polymer-based optical components including switches and arrayed waveguides (AWGs), and is led technically by the subsidiary's photonic lightwave circuit (PLC) fab.

Since tunability is a key advantage for WDM, Syntune’s monolithic approach is reckoned to be the best choice for a high-volume, low-cost solution. The firm claims that its single-chip tunable lasers and transmitters use the smallest tunable production laser with precise WDM channels.

Combining Syntune’s activities with those of Ignis should increase the customer base of both firms and further strengthen their product offering, it is reckoned.

Ignis is currently conducting due diligence, and the transaction will require approval from the firm's board and general assembly. A final decision on the intended acquisition is expected from Ignis within 2-4 weeks.

See related item:

Syntune acquires controlling stake in Svedice

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