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Photonic crystals guide the way

17 Jun 2002

UK start-up Mesophotonics receives multimillion cash injection to commercialize photonic crystals.

A UK-based Southampton University spin-off, Mesophotonics, has received £2.8 million (USD 4 million) to develop its photonic crystal-technology. Led by Greg Parker, the spin-off will develop fiber-optic components for dense-wavelength multiplexing systems.

"We have been researching photonic crystals for seven years and have developed a planar waveguiding photonic-crystal technology," said Parker. "While we were aware of the potential demand for components based on this technology, we had neither the resources nor investment to develop commercial applications."

While working at Southampton University, the scientists built a Y-shaped photonic-crystal "defect waveguide" to steer light round tight corners. Tests revealed that while the device guided light round the bends with high losses, the photonic crystal modified the transmitted light so that less was reflected back from the pointed corners.

Planning to build on work like this, Parker says that Mesophotonics will use BTG's funding to demonstrate the crystal technology over the next two years. "Small-batch production of the devices is planned during our third year and devices will appear in the market-place shortly afterwards," he added.

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