Lumera Corporation, announced today it has developed a revolutionary electro-optic polymer -- a molecularly engineered material -- that has unprecedented efficiency for advanced, high performance materials.
The efficiency of the new polymers is about five times that of the inorganic material currently used to fabricate active optical devices and is expected to dramatically improve optical equipment serving industries ranging from telecommunications to high speed computers.
"We believe this nanotechnological breakthrough, particularly as it relates to the materials developed by Lumera, could have a significant impact on the development of the optical equipment and optical interconnect markets," said Thomas D. Mino, chief executive officer. "Lumera has attracted and partnered with the best researchers in the industry and we continue to expect great science to result in commercial products that will transform industries."
The electro-optic polymer breakthrough resulted from a partnership between Lumera and the University of Washington. University of Washington professors, Larry Dalton and Alex Jen, have used "nano-tailoring" to increase electro- optic activity that produces substantially more efficiency than that of existing materials.
For their part of the partnership, Lumera's team of scientists adapted internally developed materials to achieve electro-optic coefficients of 160 pm/V at telecom operating wavelengths, a number that is approximately 20 percent higher than existing materials.
"As we transition to these nano-engineered materials, their outstanding performance will allow a greater number of options in device design," continued Mino. "For example, we can drive down the operating voltage, increase the bandwidth, decrease the size and reduce the cost of optical modulators and optical interconnects. Additionally, polymers can be processed into device architectures such as Mach-Zehnder interferometers, directional couplers, and micro-ring resonators. The relative ease and precision with which these different devices can be fabricated is the significant advantage of polymer materials."
Lumera is using the technology and materials to develop a number of new products that will allow the company to expand in, or enter new markets. For example, the company is developing modulators that have highly linear responses for cable TV (CATV) optical links and hybrid wireless/fiber optic networks. Additionally, external modulators that can operate at 10-40 GHz in metro applications, transponders, and long-haul fiber optic network build-outs are being evaluated by potential customers. All have broad potential in markets that are gaining momentum in North America, Europe, and Asia. The markets for these various products are forecasted to be greater than $5 billion by 2007.
Lumera has recently received orders for the advanced materials and engineering samples of devices from select large telecommunication and semi-conductor companies.
For more information on electo-optic materials, click here.