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Nanovation Prepares the Ground for an IPO

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
3/14/2000
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Investors willing to take a long term gamble on hitting the jackpot on optical integrated circuits should take a look at Nanovation Technologies Inc. http://www.nanovation.com. The company is at an interesting stage of development on several counts.

First, Nanovation demonstrated that its developments are more than hot air by unveiling its first products at the Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) conference in Baltimore last week. The products themselves - a range of switches, splitters and modulators - aren't that special in terms of their performance. However, they are special in one respect: their waveguides (the optical equivalent of circuits) are particularly narrow.

Narrow waveguides deliver two big benefits, according to Gary C. Bjorklund, Nanovation's CTO. First, the light pulses can't bounce around between the walls of the waveguide so much, so they lose less power. Second, they can get round much sharper bends. "We decrease the bend ratio 500 times," says Bjorklund. The upshot of that is that Nanovation can cram a lot more devices onto a single chip than other vendors.

Nanovation plans to use its advantage to build the optical equivalent of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs). In other words, vendors will be able to get Nanovation to make special chips that will replace several off-the-shelf optical components. And that'll deliver similar benefits to electrical ASICs, such as higher performance, less space requirement, lower overall cost and greater reliability.

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