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Optical/IP Networks

Laser Blazers

As carriers roll out optical technologies around the world, the demand for lasers is bound to rocket. There's no doubt that they'll be needed in vast numbers as optics starts to penetrate metropolitan environments and the "last mile" to the home and business. And there's a good chance that a lot of these will be VCSELs -- vertical cavity surface emitting lasers.

VCSELs (pronounced "vixels") have already proved to be the laser of choice for short, 850 nanometer wavelength transmissions. In fact, they've blown away other types of laser in terms of the quality of the light they produce and the cost of manufacturing.

Now, vendors are hoping to repeat their success at longer wavelengths -- 1310 and 1550 nm. If the track record of short-wavelength VCSELs is anything to go by, companies making long-wavelength versions could pose a serious threat to the traditional laser makers.

In this report, Light Reading sets out to identify the breakthrough technologies. First, there's a technology backgrounder, describing what a VCSEL is. Next, we outline the advantages of VCSELs over other transmitters. After a few words and numbers on applications, we get to the real meat of the article -- who are the players and what technological advantages do they have?

Intriguingly, there's a company called Vixel Corp. that doesn't actually make VCSELs. To find out why, read this report.

Here's a hyperlinked summary of what's on each page:

What Is a VCSEL?
VCSELs vs the Rest
Challenges
New Applications
Short-Wavelength VCSELs
1310nm VCSELs
1550nm VCSELs

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