Member News - 10 July 2014

Industry Member News

10 July, 2014

In this Issue:

Key Findings in OIDA's New Manufacturing Report
One outcome from OIDA's 19 May meeting in Washington was the OIDA report issued last month on photonics manufacturing. The report is the latest in a series published by OIDA over many years, and the most comprehensive with regard to specific manufacturing costs.

A key point of the study is that the back-end assembly costs dominate the manufacturing costs. Here, "back-end" is meant to include everything but the clean room fabrication itself: packaging, test, reliability, and even interface and control electronics and design tools. (It also turns out that the back-end issues are exactly the sort of manufacturing challenges that the U.S. government’s NNMI program is intended to address.)

While the back-end costs may present the most obvious manufacturing challenge, the front-end costs are also formidable. These can be divided into three parts: capital equipment costs, ongoing operating costs (or cost-of-revenue), and the process development costs. The process development cost is the non-recurring engineering (NRE) investment made to get the process to a commercial quality; for integrated photonics it amounts to well beyond $100 million. Yet, there is a wide misunderstanding that the process development cost is minor because, after all, "it's just CMOS." In fact, every novel design in a clean room environment requires numerous time-consuming iterations to get the process past prototyping to the stage that the end product can go into a key piece of equipment and not fail. It can take years, and sometimes many years. In this domain, there is no "just CMOS."

OIDA members can download the report here. For questions, contact Tom Hausken.
OIDA Advisory Board and Council
Claudio Mazzali,
Corning Incorporated

Mike Fiddy,
University of North Carolina

Steve Grubb,

Christoph Harder,
HHP and Swiss Photonics and Laser Network

Fred Leonberger,
EOvation Technologies, LLC

Elizabeth Rogan, The Optical Society

Update on the NNMI RFI
There has been a lot of buzz-and misperception-around the recent Request for Information (RFI) for the U.S. NNMI program. The RFI was issued as a form of outreach from the U.S. Department of Defense to help it decide which two of 6 technologies it should fund for manufacturing institutes. The RFI is also a way for the agency to gauge community commitment, before it commits itself to a full proposal and award process. If all goes according to plan, the two institutes would be awarded in Spring 2015.

In OIDA's discussions with people in the photonics community, reactions span a wide range, from many who feel that the community is entitled to an award, much like how photonics was named a "key enabling technology" by the European Commission, to a few who feel that taxpayer money is wasted on projects such as this. OIDA's view is somewhere in between. While the future of the NNMI program is not clear, the U.S. government does intend to choose two technology "topic areas" to fund, and our community has presented a good case to advance our topic to the proposal and award process (in this case, it's called a BAA-Broad Agency Announcement).

OIDA hosted an invitation-only meeting of representatives from U.S. government agencies and OIDA members and other industry stakeholders, on 19 May in Washington DC. That meeting covered several key topics for the first time: the argument for photonics as a key technology, the market gap in funding integrated photonics, and a primer on manufacturing costs of integrated photonics. A report on this workshop has been sent to members and is posted for members on the OIDA site, here.

OIDA's 19 May meeting was not aimed at selling a particular solution to the government agencies, but rather to get several key parties together, for the first time, to understand each others' positions and with everyone in the room to hear each other. It was the result of months, even years, of conversations with stakeholders. OIDA is pleased to see that the U.S. government's RFI included photonics, and so far it appears that several consortia are coalescing in response, which will help indicate to the government that there is commitment from the community on this. For more information, contact Tom Hausken.

A Successful OIDA 100G Workshop with Ethernet Alliance
OIDA and the Ethernet Alliance co-hosted a lively workshop on 100GbE single-wavelength technology on 12-13 June in San Jose, with over 130 attendees. The workshop focused on the technology of single channel 100 Gbps links, as opposed to discussions of different flavors of standards (although standards are always present somewhere in the discussion).

100Gbps is such a high transmission rate that on-off NRZ (non-return-to-zero) signaling is no longer possible. It enters the domain that RF and microwave transmission entered decades ago, by using coherent signaling strategies. The most obvious solution is to introduce multi-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM). Good old-fashioned NRZ is just 2-level PAM (called PAM2). Combine PAM with phase-shift keying and you get quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), which has been used in coaxial cable TV access networks for many years. There is also carrierless amplitude and phase modulation (CAP), closely related to QAM. And finally there is discrete multitone (DMT), a form of frequency division multiplexing, which is used in ADSL access networks with "bit loading" to match the transmission to the twisted pair copper medium. Of these, DMT is the most general case, while PAM is a baseband (DC level) special case of DMT.

The optical communications industry has had it easy for all these years, getting by with simple NRZ signaling for nearly all the systems in use today. At the highest data rates, however, that is no longer sufficient.

There were a number of key findings from the workshop that will be reviewed in an upcoming OIDA Market Update, and the presentations are available to OIDA members.

Welcome New OIDA Member Top

New Feature in Applied Optics: Engineering and Laboratory Notes
Applied Optics will be launching a new feature in January 2015 called Engineering and Laboratory Notes (E&L Notes). This monthly peer-reviewed feature will focus on hands-on skills and laboratory techniques that are presented in brief articles devoted to the design, analysis, fabrication, integration, alignment, and measurement techniques used when creating optical components and systems.
Topics suitable for submission include:
  • Tips for optical design, tolerancing, and review
  • Tips for data acquisition, reduction, and analysis
  • Techniques for assembling, aligning, and characterizing optical systems and ways to integrate these techniques with mechanical, electrical, or other external systems
  • and more.
To learn more or to submit an article, please visit the journal's website.

Department of Energy Office of Science: ASCR SBIR/STTR Workshop 2014--Opportunities in Advanced Computing and Networking
A workshop on Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) opportunities in advanced computing and networking will be held in Chicago on August 6th and 7th. Interested parties and stakeholders in Department of Energy Office of Science Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) SBIR/ STTR topics related to computing and networking are encouraged to attend. This 2 day workshop will focus on building and strengthening ties between the producers and consumers of software and networking tools developed under the auspices of the DOE SBIR/STTR program.
Learn More.

Mark Your Calendar for 4 November and Attend the 21st OIDA Annual Forum in Washington, D.C.
OIDA's Annual Forum brings key stakeholders together in Washington, D.C. to maximize discussion between industry, government, and academic decision-makers.
The 2014 Forum will feature:
  • market overviews
  • perspectives on hot topics
  • highlights on activities in diverse geographic regions
  • lessons learned from recent OIDA roadmapping efforts
Check back soon for details on this unique, once-a-year industry forum for the optoelectronics community!

Participate in District Visits Week
The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is organizing a District Visits Week for the week of 11-15 August. It is a great opportunity to invite your Congressional representatives to visit your facility. NPI will provide you with the information you need to have a successful district visit.

District visits allow legislators to meet constituents, see the economic impact you are having on their district, and establish you as a resource. Understanding what is happening in their district gives them valuable perspective when the time comes for them to vote on legislation impacting the field of optics and photonics.

If you are unable to participate during the week of 11-15 August, you can host a district visit during a different time. Please reach out to us, we will help you through the process. If you are interested in doing a district visit or want more information, please visit the NPI District Visits Week webpage.

New OSA Executive Speaker Series Event at Stanford University
In the First Person - A Candid Conversation with Milton Chang, Managing Director at Incubic, LLC

Interviewed by Hank Gauthier, IPG Board Member

Tuesday, 5 August 2014, 14:15 - 15:00*
Room 106
Stanford University, Stanford, CA
*Seating is very limited for this event. Please contact Sandra Kim at if you would like to attend.


Three New Free OSA Webinars are Now Available for On-Demand Viewing
Watch these timely webinars today. Is your company interested in partnering with OSA to create a webinar? Visit the web site or contact Regan Pickett -; +1 202.416.1474

Are You Taking Advantage of All of Your Member Benefits?
Check out the complete list of benefits available to you as an OIDA member. These now include OSA Corporate Member benefits such as:
  • Secure the Right Talent through Post 20 job openings at no charge, with additional postings at 50% off.
  • Gain exclusive access to OSA's individual members -- more than 18,500 optics professionals. Your first mailing list order includes 5,000 names at no charge.
  • And More - Learn more about all of the OIDA/OSA Corporate Member benefits. Have questions about your membership? Contact Regan Pickett,, 1.202.416.1474.