Princeton Optronics Secures $25 Million (Fiber News)
Princeton Optronics secures $25 million Component manufacturer Princeton Optronics has received $25 million in second-round funding from a group of venture capitalists. The funds will be used to scale up production of the company s 12.5 Gbit/s receivers and modulator drivers, and to fund the final development of its PowerSweep 2000, a high-power tunable laser (see Compound Semiconductor May 2001, page 51). The latter device uses a VCSEL with an external MEMS cavity to select the desired wavelength. High output powers are achieved by optically pumping the VCSEL using a second VCSEL emitting at 980 nm. The laser is tunable across the entire C-band from 1525 to 1565 nm, though the tuning range can be scaled up to 70 nm. Output power is 20 mW (scalable to 50 mW) with 50 GHz linewidth, and a wavelength locker provides 1 GHz stability. A similar approach is used by competitor CoreTek (now part of Nortel Networks), which employs a MEMS-tunable VCSEL pumped using a 1310 nm edge-emitting laser. Much of Princeton s intellectual property lies in producing 980 nm VCSELs, and the company claims its tunable laser technology offers major advantages in terms of production costs. The critical step in manufacturing this type of device is aligning the pump laser, VCSEL, tuning cavity and fiber. Normally the alignment is actively adjusted to optimize performance while the laser is operating. But in Princeton s system manufacturing costs are reduced using automatic alignment: components are placed in the best positions first time around without the laser operating.