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1 October 2015

POET to deliver integrated VCSEL prototypes in second-quarter 2016

POET Technologies Inc of Toronto, Canada — which, through subsidiary OPEL Defense Integrated Systems (ODIS Inc) of Storrs, CT, USA, has developed the proprietary planar optoelectronic technology (POET) platform for monolithic fabrication of integrated III-V-based electronic and optical devices on a single semiconductor wafer — has strengthened its balance sheet and accelerated its lab-to-fab commercialization initiative in expectation of delivering its first prototypes in 2016.

"We start the new quarter with a significantly strengthened balance sheet — with $20.5m in cash, with only small operational liabilities," says executive co-chairman Peter Copetti. "We expect these funds to provide about eight quarters of development runway, beyond the point of demonstrating working prototypes within the next year," adds executive co-chairman Ajit Manocha.


The firm says it is poised to roll out a monolithic optoelectronics process platform that enables improvements in energy efficiency, component cost and size in the production of smart optical components, driving applications ranging from data centers to consumer products.

"The company's patented module-on-a-chip process, which integrates digital, high-speed analog and optical devices on the same chip, is designed to be the next industry standard for smart optical components fabrication," says Manocha. "By adding electronics functionality to optics — lasers, detectors, IR sensors — POET powers 'smart' optoelectronic devices that demonstrate step-function improvements in low-power performance, cost and size. Specifically applied to short-reach VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser)-based transceivers for example, POET could enable up to 10x improvements in power consumption, component cost, and form factor," says CEO Dr Suresh Venkatesan. "Put simply, that means we make what's on a wafer up to 10 times more energy efficient, 10 times cheaper and more than 10 times smaller," he adds. "We believe we are the only company that could achieve this level of disruption."

Performance of light at the cost of copper

The firm claims that the POET technology platform enables the power of optical communications at potentially similar price points to copper. 

"Advances in silicon technology enable hugely efficient computational efficiencies," says Venkatesan.  "A single computation, for example, can be completed at fractions of pico-joules of energy. However, transmitting or communicating this piece of information over traditional copper interconnects can consume up to 100 times that energy," he adds. "While optics can dramatically lower power consumption, we haven't seen any optical solution that has yet been cost-competitive with copper interconnects. The POET platform, when implemented, could change that — thus creating a discontinuity in traditional learning curves," he believes. 

Market focus, proven business model, and facilities transition ahead of plan

The firm says that its initial market focus is short-reach and very-short-reach data communications, a massive and particularly high-growth sector whose most acute pain points often revolve around power management within data centers. The POET platform may subsequently be applicable to smart optical products, with applications ranging from high-reliability defense, aerospace and energy applications to more common consumer devices.

Venkatesan says that the firm's business model is expected to include a long-proven mixture of product sales and licensing; organic growth and acquisition; and direct and indirect sales. POET also expects to go to market primarily with partners — both in sales and manufacturing. Typifying the latter is the firm's recent VCSEL manufacturing services agreement with a commercial foundry.

"Our partnerships bring scalable manufacturing and custom VCSEL foundry capabilities that we need to accelerate our lab-to-fab migration," says Venkatesan. "We are on-plan to begin transferring our proprietary technology in this year's Q4… as well as to demonstrate integrated VCSEL prototypes in the second quarter of 2016."

The firm also reports that it is ahead of plan in consolidating its Toronto-Connecticut-San Jose footprint and bringing the bulk of its operations to Silicon Valley in fourth-quarter 2015. The consolidation should be completed in first-quarter 2016. The move is expected to result in insignificant one-time charges.

See related items:

POET enters into VCSEL manufacturing services agreement with Anadigics

POET appoints GlobalFoundries' senior VP of technology development as its CEO

Tags: Anadigics POET VCSEL

Visit: www.poet-technologies.com

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