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Optical components

ITF Scores $25 Million

COPENHAGEN -- ECOC 2002 -- Canadian startup ITF Optical Technologies Inc. is planning to announce a US$25 million round of funding in the next few days, in what appears to demonstrate confidence that the market for long-haul components will return before too long.

How's that?

First, this isn't a case of existing investors reluctantly stumping up some cash to keep ITF afloat. Far from it. François Gonthier, ITF's founder and CTO, says $15 million of the new round has come from new investors -- Société Générale de Financement du Québec, a fund owned by the Quebec state, and BayTech, a Munich-based venture capital company. Existing investors include Terry Matthews' Celtic House International and a bunch of other parties (see ITF Optical Closes $28M Funding).

Second, ITF makes components whose main use is in Raman amplifiers and Erbium Doped-Fiber Amplifiers (EDFAs) -- the kit used to boost light so it can travel long distances over fiber. And of course, that market is as dead as a doornail right now.

Investors clearly think that it's worth keeping ITF going until the market recovers. The $25 million will last a fair time in Quebec, according Hélène Chartier, ITF's VP of marketing, because Canadian salaries and other costs are considerably lower than in the U.S. ITF has 140 on staff, and 60 of those are working on R&D.

More than 60 customers bought ITF's products last year, most of which are based on a couple fiber innovations.

In one case, a filter is formed by heating and stretching a fiber in a very controlled way, so that it necks.

In the other case, two fibers are heated and fused together to create a device that can split or combine light of two wavelengths. ITF claims it's the only company that can do this with wavelengths that are very closely spaced. Competitors using liquid crystal technology can only combine or split wavelengths that are far apart, such as 1550 and 1310 nanometers, according to Gonthier.

As these components comprise fiber from end to end, they're particularly suitable for use in handling high-power light in amplifiers, where epoxy interfaces with components such as filters have been known to create problems in the past (see JDSU in EDFA Recall and JDSU Says EDFAs Fixed).

These two types of fiber components, together with its Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs), have been combined in more than a dozen products. These include a range of couplers, pump combiners, multiplexers, and stabilizers, together with depolarizers, gain flattening filters, interleavers, and demodulators.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com
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yiqunh 12/4/2012 | 9:47:34 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million Dear Editor,

I woluld like to clarify that any passive components for optical amplification manufactured by JDS Uuiphase do not have epoxy in optical path any more. All our products, including fused- fiber and micro-optics based products, can handle higher than 1W power.

Regards.

Yiqun Hu
Application Engineer Manager
JDS Uniphase
RGreg 12/4/2012 | 9:47:32 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million "In one case, a filter is formed by heating and stretching a fiber in a very controlled way, so that it necks."

Umm, this is technology that's been around a couple of decades. It's called fused biconic taper (FBT).


"In the other case, two fibers are heated and fused together to create a device that can split or combine light of two wavelengths."

Again, this is pretty old hat: FBT couplers.


"ITF claims it's the only company that can do this with wavelengths that are very closely spaced. Competitors using liquid crystal technology can only combine or split wavelengths that are far apart, such as 1550 and 1310 nanometers, according to Gonthier."

Yet again, this is nothing new. FBT couplers have been made for many years (at least 7, from personal experience) that combine light at 1533nm and 1557nm. Furthermore, lots of research has been done to make FBT couplers that will multiplex light at wavelengths that are 7nm apart or less. I suspect that if they go closer than that they have serious signal isolation issues.

In fact, that comment about using fiber bragg gratins (FBG) as well makes me wonder whether they're doing something with Mach-Zender interferometer or Michelson interferometer configurations. Both are possible using a combination of couplers and FBGs.


But reading this article gave me a weird sense of deja vu. Is older tech coming back into vogue, or simply finding new uses for established techniques, or did ITF just pull the wool over some peoples eyes?
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 9:47:30 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million It appears that this technology can be used in the CWDM environment only. But CWDM technology has ony very limited market in the access network or Enterprise Network.

There are a lot of other companies that can duplicate this technology.

gea 12/4/2012 | 9:47:27 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million As the article said...

"they're particularly suitable for use in handling high-power light in amplifiers"

Meanwhile, the every prescient BobbyMax wrote...

"It appears that this technology can be used in the CWDM environment only. But CWDM technology has ony very limited market in the access network or Enterprise Network."

Bobby! Are you high? Again? Did you actually bother reading this article? Do you even have a clue what CWDM is? How do you get "good for optical amplification" to mean "only applicable to CWDM?" Most of the CWDM wavelengths cannot be amplified by EDFAs, hence the only real application for CWDM is in Access or Enterprise, where it will eventually soar.

You have once again displayed your complete and total lack of comprehension of basic issues in Telecom, particularly where optical is concerned. You are not merely wrong, but clueless. Your mindless chatter is worse than mere noise, it is refuse....it stinks.
LightBeating 12/4/2012 | 9:47:26 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million Rgreg wrote:

"But reading this article gave me a weird sense of deja vu. Is older tech coming back into vogue, or simply finding new uses for established techniques, or did ITF just pull the wool over some peoples eyes?"


I think they did "pull the wool". Investing another $25M in a non-profitable passive component company that has had something like $65M in funding already seems like a sure way to lose your money. Their market is mostly in the long haul, worse, in Raman amps!!! Sounds like madness to me!

It IS old technology, with only niche market applications (not talking about fused coupler here, but specialized fused couplers).

LB




Arrow 12/4/2012 | 9:47:20 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million

"I woluld like to clarify that any passive components for optical amplification manufactured by JDS Uuiphase do not have epoxy in optical path any more. All our products, including fused- fiber and micro-optics based products, can handle higher than 1W power. "

===>

What about AWGs do they have epoxy in the optical path?


Physical_Layer 12/4/2012 | 9:47:18 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million Arrow asked if AWGs have epoxy in the optical path. I'm going to guess that the answer is yes. Only a few companies have made progress in doing things like fusion splicing fiber directly to an AWG die. Most guys still buy fiber arrays and glue them up.

I'm fairly certain that JDS has not eliminated glue from the optical path in all products, but has started by focussing on parts that are used in amplification (where there is high power). For example, they now sell laser-welded WDM couplers with no glue in the optical path. Other choices include FBT couplers (similar to what ITF and many other suppliers make).

Does anyone here think there will be a trend towards eliminating glue in the optical path for all components? If so, who are the leaders in making this happen?

FC.
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 9:47:02 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million Dear "Dr. Gea":

You have again started writing hate e-mails. You must apologise for writing hate e-mails.

"Dr. Gea" you are nether a creator of technology nor do you exhibit a good understanding of technologies, market conditions, and business conditions either. It was suggested that you go to a community college ( if you cannot get admitted to an IVY school).

"Dr" Gea, you always display ignorance and your vindictiveness.

"Dr Gea", work hard and learn as much as possible. It will be good for you if you can read tecnical Journals published by Bell Labs ( Bell Technical System Journal" and IEE Journals ( Communications Magezine). If you read popular publications like Network World, you will learn very little.

Good luck to you, Dr. Gea
st0 12/4/2012 | 9:47:02 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million


"I woluld like to clarify that any passive components for optical
amplification manufactured by JDS Uuiphase do not have epoxy in
optical path any more. All our products, including fused- fiber and
micro-optics based products, can handle higher than 1W power. "
--------
Is that correct to say the following:
"all our products can handle higher than 1W power do not have epoxy (but may have other polymeric material) in optical path any more"

;-) st
gea 12/4/2012 | 9:47:01 PM
re: ITF Scores $25 Million 'Dr" Gea, you always display ignorance and your vindictiveness'

Ah Bobby Bobby Bobby! Ever the rambling one! "Vindictiveness"? How does that apply to any of my posts? Do you even know what that word means? And ignorance? You are the one who stated that pump-coupling technology is only applicable to CWDM! What shocks me is that you never seem to get any better, and if someone points out a direct, blatant error or wildly unsupportable claim, you never seem to go check the facts.

OK, we've figured out YOU work for Lucent. As for me, I do have a number of patents in my name, so I can claim to be a technological innovator. As for not knowing my field, well, I think half a decade at Bellcore/Telcordia auditing and testing DWDM and SONET systems is alone enough to indicate I have forgotten more than you ever knew.

But beyond all this is your constant and probably actionable shitting all over everybody else's efforts. You constantly inject mindless negativity that obfuscates the true issues, making innovators look like crooks, and crooks like they're being unfairly targeted by another kook (and don't think I'm the only one who thinks you are out of your mind). You are a negative force in every respect, and the only consolation is that your ideas are so incoherent that not too many people even bother reading your posts anymore. I, however, will continue to alert the newcomers about your longstanding antics.

This is not "hate", it's truth.
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