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23 September 2009


JDSU in production with tunable chip

Optoelectronic component maker JDSU has made key advances with two new products designed for fiber-optic communications networks.

The California-based company has just released its tunable XFP transceiver into volume production, while it also says that a new GaAs-based pump laser package fabricated using a simplified manufacturing process has met crucial Telcordia qualification standards.

JDSU’s announcements were timed to coincide with the European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC), a key event in the fiber-optic industry’s calendar that is taking place this week in Vienna, Austria.

The XFP transceiver is based on a tunable source fabricated using an indium phosphide process that integrates the laser with a semiconductor optical amplifier and a Mach-Zehnder modulator. The chip-integration approach delivers a module that is just one-sixth the size of previous generations of tunable transceivers.

JDSU’s design was the subject of recent patent litigation with rival component maker Oclaro (formerly Bookham), which had also developed a tunable transceiver. That case was won by JDSU in April, with Oclaro ordered to pay royalties of up to $1m per year to JDSU.

JDSU has also modified the tunable technology to create a different component that is suitable for ultra-long-haul networks. Incorporated into a 300-pin transponder design, the laser’s continuous-wave output is fed into an external lithium niobate modulator - an older technology - instead of a semiconductor modulator.

In JDSU’s press release, Daryl Inniss, vice president and practice leader of components at market analyst firm Ovum, commented on this particular development: “It’s great to see that JDSU has extended its tunable XFP technology to support 300-pin [multi-source agreement] transponders, as this should help provide lower-power and lower-cost options to the market.”

Meanwhile, JDSU believes that a new approach to making 980nm lasers, which are used to pump the erbium-doped amplifiers that boost optical signals in long-haul networks, will provide energy savings to network equipment companies.

Toby Strite, JDSU’s marketing director responsible for the pump lasers, reckons that the increasing consumer demand for network applications has put a focus on the energy requirements of optical modules used in those networks. “JDSU’s new 980nm pump laser is a low-cost solution that can help operators reduce the amount of power needed to support these increasing demands,” he said.

According to the company, the new pump lasers, known as the ‘SP Platform’, are reliable enough to operate at 45ºC, rather than at room temperature, which means that system cooling requirements are reduced significantly.

The laser packages are designed to fit into existing modules, for direct replacement of older pump components, and a new manufacturing process is said by JDSU to have reduced customer lead times by half.

The pump lasers are expected to be available for purchase by late October.

Search: JDSU XFP transceiver GaAs pump laser


The author Michael Hatcher is a freelance journalist based in Bristol, UK.

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