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Optical components

Little Optics Delays Time

ANNAPOLIS JUNCTION, Md. -- Little Optics, Inc., a developer of unique high-index optical waveguide materials for planar lightwave circuits (PLCs) announced today the commencement of compact, ultra long path length time delay circuits based on its patented HydexTM material system. These circuits are an outflow of Little Optics' Optical ASIC platform. Long path length time delay circuits are of increasing interest for phased array antennae, optical switching, optical clock distribution, optical time domain multiplexing, polarization mode dispersion compensation, differential phase shift key, optical pulse replication and sensor applications. Little Optics' ability to miniaturize complex PLC circuits to < 1 cm2 leads to dramatic improvements in cost, performance, functionality and size thus making them economically viable to a broader range of applications than previously possible with conventional low-index PLC processes.

Little Optics offers two architectures for time delay circuits: (1) a multi-stage programmable delay line up to 64 bits and (2) an unbalanced Mach-Zehnder interferometer with differential path lengths up to 2 meters. These devices are fabricated on Little Optics' patented high index glass platform (i.e., core/clad index contrast ratio up to 25%), resulting in hundreds of die per 6" wafer.

Compared with conventional low index processes, benefits of the HydexTM material system are:

  • Increase of optical path length up to 1000x
  • Decrease in chip size by 10-50x
  • Flexible "pick and place" stepper lithography techniques that allow stitching of long path length spirals to common device architecture
  • Increased number of optical circuit elements per die


Little Optics Inc.
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