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Optical components

Specialty Fiber About to Blossom?

Although the market for Erbium Doped-Fiber Amplifiers (EDFAs) and Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBGs) may be in the doldrums, the market for the speciality fiber used in such components is about to put on a spurt of growth.

So says ElectroniCast Corp., which has just released a report that forecasts sales of specialty fiber increasing sixfold over the next five years (see Specialty Fiber to Grow 28% in 2003).

Electronicast says one reason for this is that a lot of research into fiber-based components is coming to fruition. "Lots of these new fibers have been in the works for years in university labs, but we're just now starting to see them go into commercial development," says Stephen Montgomery, ElectoniCast's president.

New specialty fibers include those doped with substances, such as ytterbium, bismuth, and tellurite. In fact, some ytterbium-based fiber components have already been announced (see IPG Claims Laser Output Record and SPI Breaks Laser Power Record).

Right now, some of the more esoteric specialty fibers are very expensive -- tellurite-doped fiber costs $900 a meter -- but that has to be weighed against the fact that only short lengths (inches) of it are needed in the average component.

Other specialty fibers are already used in disperson compensators. In a nutshell, their optical characteristics have been engineered to reverse the tendency of light signals to smudge as they travel over long distances, for a variety of reasons.

While more than 50 vendors are aiming at this space, a few seem likely to stand out in their bids for market share in the near term, Montgomery says. These include large companies that have long had specialty fiber divisions, such as 3M Company (NYSE: MMM), Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW), INO, OFS, and Sumitomo Corp.

A range of smaller players are aiming for a piece of the action as well, including Australia's Nufern and Finland's Liekki Oy, which specializes in erbium-doped fiber. Liekki CEO Per Stenius says the current market is challenging, but he confirms ElectroniCast's sense of an upturn. Revenues in several areas are up, he notes, and he's "excited" about the next six to 12 months.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Milano 12/4/2012 | 11:46:18 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? At least with Electronicast, things are easy.

1- Pick a product - any product -
2- forecast that the sales with multiply by x (x>5) over a number of year y (y>5).
3- Make sure you never make y too low, so that no one can challenge you.
4- Sleep well with the thought that you don't have a clue about what's coming in the next year or two but you can predict the long term.
5- Hit the "press release" button
6- Wait for anyone with a business plan who needs a consulting study to get $$$
7 - Repeat endlessly.

...M
opticalweenie 12/4/2012 | 11:46:18 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? Bismuth and Tellurium are not rare earth metals!
Rare earth metals are comprised of the lanthanides and actinides.
verstand 12/4/2012 | 11:46:16 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? Chemically doped fiber is only part of the specialty fiber family. Photonic crystal fiber (PCF) is also gaining momentum. IMHO, the title of this article seemingly doesn't match its content.
verstand 12/4/2012 | 11:46:16 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? Any forecast model no matter how many scientific and statistic parameters are used, ther is always one dictates the final outcome, the "final adjustment"! A few people sitting together in a conference room, MC will call on everyone. Then, average out everyone's number. I am sure FED works the same way on deciding interest rate.
gea 12/4/2012 | 11:46:16 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? "Bismuth and Tellurium are not rare earth metals!
Rare earth metals are comprised of the lanthanides and actinides."

Opticalweenie:

You are aptly named.
opticalweenie 12/4/2012 | 11:46:15 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? Comments appreciated. Weenie, while extremely well versed in optics also has piled higher and
deeper (Ph.D) in chemistry and has been called anal retentive when it comes to demanding people use correct grammar!
mmmmm...forbidden fiber 12/4/2012 | 11:46:15 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? You guys are being much to hard on Electroniguess. They are getting quite better in their random number generation. Remember this laugher that was published about specialty fiber after the telecom market was already in the tank?

http://www.lightreading.com/do...

I need a drink.
Gnut 12/4/2012 | 11:46:15 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? If you really want picky check how we use the verb 'comprise' in English
lightbridge 12/4/2012 | 11:46:13 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? mmm..

Thanks for finding that link. In fact, I don't think their random number generator has improved: In 2001, they forcast an annual growth of 34% (239 million to 4.38 billion from 2000 to 2010). Now their annual growth forcast is about 45%! (155 million to about 1 billion from 2002 to 2007, see graphics)

lb
BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 11:46:04 PM
re: Specialty Fiber About to Blossom? Electronicast report is bogus. There is no basis for growth rate predictions and the numbers cannot be validated. I do not know who buys these reports.

RHK publishes market foprecast reports which are very unreliable.
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