LightConnect Launches First Products

Gives details of MEMS-based variable optical attenuators and dynamic gain equalizers

July 2, 2001

3 Min Read

Two press releases

Press Release 1: LIGHTCONNECT Introduces Single and Multiple Channel VOAs

Single and 8-channel voltage controlledVariable Optical Attenuators (VOA), offering significantly faster speed,smaller form factor and more exceptional optical performance than anythingnow on the market, have been introduced by LIGHTCONNECT, Inc., a developerof innovative, dynamic MEMS-based fiber optic components for next generationoptical networks.

The single channel FVOA2001 individual attenuator elements are each housedin a transistor-like, hermetically sealed package. The FVOM2008 is amulti-channel array consisting of eight MEMS-based FVOA2001 elements in asingle package.

LIGHTCONNECT VOAs are based on proprietary diffractive-MEMS (microelectro-mechanical systems) technology, which is faster, more reliable, lesscomplex and less expensive to manufacture than stepper-motor based devices,planar waveguide technology and other MEMS technologies, such as micromirrors or bubbles.

The use of diffractive MEMS technology also allows these VOAs to be 1,000times faster and nearly 90 percent smaller than industry standard devices.

In addition, they are expected to surpass trillions of attenuation cycleswithout any performance degradation. Advanced transistor-like packaging notonly provides a reliable hermetic package, but also lends itself toefficient automated manufacturing, yielding high volumes at lower per-unitcost.

Excellent optical performance

The devices operate at under 60 microseconds typical response time; low PDL(polarization dependent loss) under 0.1 dB typical; insertion loss 0.8 dBtypical; WDL (wavelength dependent loss) less than 0.3 dB max at 10 dBattenuation; PMD (polarization mode dispersion) less than 0.01 ps typical;dynamic range greater than 30 dB, and power consumption under 10 mW perchannel. All this in a small 9 x 16 mm package.

The arrays will successfully complete Telecodia GR-1221 and the morestringent GR-468 qualifications by August. Additional reliability data isalso being collected.

Price and availability:

The FVOA2001 individual attenuator is priced at $1,000 for engineeringsamples, and significantly less for production volumes. The FVOM2008 moduleof eight devices is $8,000 for engineering samples, and significantly lessfor production volumes which will be available in Q3.

Press release 2: LIGHTCONNECT Introduces First MEMS-based Dynamic Gain Equalizer

The first MEMS based dynamic gain equalizer(DGE) for long haul and ultra long haul dense wavelength divisionmultiplexing (DWDM) systems was announced today by LIGHTCONNECT, Inc.Formed in 1999, LIGHTCONNECT designs and manufactures innovative, dynamicMEMS-based fiber optic components for next generation, dynamicallyconfigurable optical networks.

The LIGHTCONNECT DGE1020, when used in a feedback loop, dynamicallycompensates amplifier gain profiles, thus enabling high signal-to-noiseratio for all channels in optical amplifier systems. Dynamic gaincompensation improves system performance, increases system flexibility andincreases the distance between amplifiers in long haul and ultra long haultransmission systems. This device is intended for use with Erbium-dopedfiber amplifiers and Raman amplifiers.

The DGE1020 is based on diffractive MEMS (D-MEMS) technology that offersseveral advantages over other MEMS technology. Unlike mirror-based MEMSdevices that require large movements of small mirrors, the diffractive MEMSapproach requires motion less than 0.4 microns. Moreover, the highresonant frequencies of the D-MEMS ribbons increase speed by 50 to 500 timesover mirror based MEMS components while providing a robust optical platformwhich is virtually unaffected by ambient acoustic and seismic disturbances.

Existing static gain flattening filters are incapable of responding tochanges in optical networks, thus preventing continuous optimum systemperformance. Diffractive MEMS-based DGEs, on the other hand, respondrapidly and with excellent wavelength resolution to changes in the opticalamplifier gain profile, with consequent low residual ripple afterequalization even in the steepest portions of the gain profile. TheD-MEMS-based DGEs consume little power, require no temperature control, andhave a small package size (64 x 96 x 16mm).

Performance features of the DGE1020:
Operating Wavelength Range: 1528nm – 1570 nm
Wavelength Step Response: 15 db in 4 nm
Maximum Attenuation: 15 db
Insertion loss: <6 db
Polarization Dependent Loss: <0.25 db
Residual ripple: <0.30 db
Speed: <50 microseconds

LightConnect Inc.

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