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Phoenix Photonics addresses 2μm market

08 Feb 2012

UK company launches 2μm fiber couplers and polarization scrambler, leads EU MODE-GAP next-gen network project.

Growing demands for optical communication products suited to the 2000 nm range prompted Phoenix Photonics to address this market and extending the operational wavelengths of its all-fiber based couplers. At Photonics West 2012, the Croydon, UK-based company launched a range of 1x2, 2x2, tap, and cascaded configuration couplers as well as a new polarization scrambler.

The company’s proprietary in-house R&D and manufacturing facilitated the development to enable components built on single mode fiber specifically designed for optimized operation in the 2000 nm wavelength band.

Dean Giles, Operations Director at Phoenix Photonics, told optics.org, “To optimize the performance of our fused couplers we have designed and built our own fusion rigs, and developed the processing methods. It’s exciting to have the new technology in-house and we plan to continue to invest in new and innovative products in the coming year.”

In addition to the new couplers, Phoenix was demonstrating much of its existing product portfolio of optical devices to suit conventional telecommunications wavelengths including: optical phase shifter, side polished fibers, polarization scanner-controller, polarization scrambler (multi-channelled and electronically-driven models) and fiber depolarizer.

Polarization Scrambler

Phoenix primarily provides optical fiber components and modules for telecommunications test and measurement instrumentation and sensing systems. The company also supplies university R&D departments and research establishments developing next generation systems.

The latest Polarization Scrambler was developed to fulfill the requirements of existing customers. Providing low polarization mode dispersion (PMD), and available in the 2000nm range, this all-fiber device provides sine or random waveforms. Part of Phoenix’s Firebird range, this single-channel device uses similar technology to the company’s bench-top multi-channel polarization controller, released in 2011.

Giles added, “Over many years we have refined our manufacturing processes to produce high specification, high quality, and low-cost products. The scrambler’s unique design is based on Phoenix’s existing polarization range, and has allowed us to utilize our established, and economical, processes.”

Phoenix rising

At the San Francisco exhibition, optics.org interviewed Giles about the company’s evolution and leadership of a key pan-European research and development project involving a range of key research institutes and optical communications technology companies.

Phoenix Photonics CEO Dr Ian Giles (Dean’s father) is Project Manager for the European Commission’s 7th Framework Collaborative R&D project, known as MODE-GAP, which is researching and looking to develop the technologies required to manage and operate networks capable of handling up to 100 times greater capacity than is possible with current solutions.

optics.org What is Phoenix Photonics?

Dean Giles Phoenix Photonics is a UK based manufacturer and R&D specialist in components and instrumentation for fiber optic technology and applications worldwide. We are primarily focused on the development of optical fiber test and measurement instrumentation for the telecommunications and sensing industries. But we also supply university R&D departments and other research establishments looking to develop next-generation technologies and solutions.

What do you see as a particular opportunity for Phoenix Photonics in the telecommunications sector?

Telecommunications is a critical part of the fabric of society worldwide and faces enormous challenges such as high-bandwidth broadband provision and next generation networking for both fixed and mobile networks. The Phoenix technology base enables us to support both today’s customers and demands and also to look at the developments that will be needed for the next 10-50 years.

What is happening with the MODE-GAP project?

Phoenix is focused on the critical components part of this project as the EU is looking to create a new platform to keep pace with world demand as the telecommunications market moves towards potential gridlock as the physical capacity limitations of single mode fiber transmission is reached.

New components that provide the increased functionality of a network will be the fundamental building blocks of any enhanced system. The new fibers proposed within the MODE-GAP which will be designed to facilitate spatial division multiplexing will demand a whole new range of supporting components. Our role is to address that challenge to provide these advanced fiber components, based on our established in-house technologies.”

MODE-GAP is seeking to provide Europe with a lead in the development of the next generation Internet infrastructure. Combining the expertise of eight leading photonics partners, MODE-GAP will develop transmission technologies based on specialist long-haul transmission fibers, and associated enabling technologies such as novel rare-earth doped optical amplifiers, transmitter and receiver components and data processing techniques to increase the capacity of broadband networks.

MODE GAP partners

Other organizations involved alongside Phoenix are the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre, ESPCI ParisTech, OFS Fitel Denmark APS, the COBRA Institute at Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Eblana Photonics Ltd, Ireland, Nokia Siemens Networks GMBH & Co. KG and the Tyndall National Institute of University College Cork.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org

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