21 Dec 2009
VI Systems is major partner in $38m Russian-German joint venture in optical data communications
A Russian-German joint venture is to invest $38m to establish a start-up company in St Petersburg for the manufacture of opto-semiconductor epitaxial wafers, chips and associated components based on vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) and photodetectors for optical data communications.
VI Systems, Germany, a fabless company that specializes in ultrahigh-speed fibre-optic components for datacoms applications, will own 35% of the new venture, which will be called Connector Optics. The two other investors are the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RUSNANO) and URALSIB bank of Russia, with a 45.01% and 19.99% stake respectively.
Under the terms of the agreement, VI Systems will get access to leading-edge epitaxial growth services for proprietary optical components, while Connector Optics will benefit from VI's established commercial relationships and customer networks. Production ramp is scheduled for the second quarter of 2011.
The new outfit is targeting a range of high-bit-rate optical transmission applications, including local- and storage-area networks, active optical cables, supercomputer interconnects and optical versions of USB (Universal Serial Bus), HDMI (High Definition Media Interface) and other interfaces for personal computers, cameras, high-definition TV screens and cell phones.
Scientific support for the Connector Optics venture will be provided by the Physics and Technology Scientific and Educational Centre of the Russian Academy of Science (RAS) in St Petersburg, the A F Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute of the RAS, and the Institute of Semiconductor Physics of the Siberian Branch of the RAS in Novosibirsk.
The main R&D partner of VI Systems will remain the Technical University of Berlin in Germany.
RUSNANO was established in 2007 under Russian federal law to enact government policy in the field of nanotechnology. Under this remit, RUSNANO co-invests in nanotechnology industry projects that have high commercial potential or social benefit.