Xindium Comes Out

At OFC startup will show optical devices and high-speed electronics integrated on one InP chip

March 1, 2002

3 Min Read
Xindium Comes Out

Component startup Xindium Technologies Inc. is hoping to make a bit of a splash on Monday when it comes out of stealth mode to announce its first product (see Xindium Plans InP Chips).

The product -- a photodetector and 40-Gbit/s trans-impedance amplifier (TIA) on the same indium phosphide chip -- promises to be a big hit with manufacturers of transmitter modules, according to Cindana Turkatte, Xindium’s president and CEO. “They’re going to lick their chops when they see this,” she says.


First, module makers won’t have to buy two devices -- the photodetector and TIA -- separately and deal with the issues of linking them together effectively, which can be challenging, according to Turkatte.

Second, Xindium is one of only a handful of manufacturers that have so far managed to make electronic circuits that can handle 40-Gbit/s speeds. This implies a clock rate exceeding 160 GHz, a speed that’s only possible in indium phosphide chips, according to Turkatte.

Third, Xindium plans to license its technology to other companies. In this way, module makers will get a choice of suppliers for their high-speed chips -- a big issue right now, because it’s tough to get a reliable source of 40-Gbit/s chips. “It’s our responsibility to the world to allow indium phosphide to become fabless,” says Turkatte, noting that Kevin Kalkhoven, the former CEO of JDS Uniphase Inc. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU), encouraged Xindium to go down this route.

What really appears to set Xindium apart from other vendors is the integration of optical and high-speed electronic devices on the same piece of indium phosphide. A bunch of other vendors -- including Inphi Corp., Gtran Inc., and Velocium -- are developing ways of making 40-Gbit/s electronic chips. Gtran and Inphi are fabless outfits as well (see Startup Claims 40-Gig First and Inphi Pitches OC768). However, none of these companies appear to have taken things a stage further and added an optical device to their designs.

Turkatte says the secret of Xindium’s integration achievement is tied up in the special chemical composition of the indium phosphide wafers that it uses to make its widgets.

Xindium itself was founded about a year ago and has close links with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Founders include Dr. Jose E. Schutt-Aine, an expert in signal integrity; Dr. Milton Feng, a leading expert in high-frequency circuits; and Dr. Ilesanmi Adesida, who’s had 20 years of experience in developing optical devices.

Turkatte came on board last Autumn, after she lost her job as VP of marketing at another component startup, Iolon Inc..

Turkatte says Xindium has a “small staff” (she declines to be more specific) and has enough cash for “quite a bit of the rest of the year.” The company raised a $5 million first round from VantagePoint Venture Partners and is now initiating a series B round.

Xindium plans to demonstrate its new product to potential customers and analysts at a private venue at the upcoming Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibit (OFC).

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

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