GigOptix created a 40G Mach-Zehnder modulator based on its proprietary Thin Film Polymer on Silicon (TFPS™) technology. Traditional devices used either lithium niobate or indium phosphide. Overall, this modulator was faster and its low drive voltage cut power consumption by over 20%.
Moreover, GigOptix could bundle the new modulator with its 40G and 100G drivers. With this revolutionary modulator, GigOptix can offer a bundled solution with their compatible Mach-Zehnder 40G and 100G drivers.
GigOptix had to overcome a variety of obstacles simultaneously:
- Time-to-market was absolutely critical.
- Manufacturing had to be best-in-class. For instance, polymer modulators require much finer alignment than lithium niobate versions, because the optical mold is much smaller.
- The manufacturer had to create new packaging.
GigOptix selected Sanmina because of:
- Speed. Sanmina is an expert, bringing complex, quality products to market quickly.
- Deep experience in optics. Sanmina’s Optical and Microelectronics Division is focused on the design, industrialization, test and custom manufacturing of revolutionary optical products with decades of experience in the field. It had also previously manufactured more traditional modulators.
- End-to-end capability. Sanmina can handle design, development and global manufacturing.
No one had ever seen a polymer modulator before. With the LX 8401 DPSK 40G modulator, Sanmina:
- Developed the passive alignment and epoxy curing processes.
- Solved the difficult alignment problem. Within +/- 2 micron.
- Created new equipment. It developed the equipment needed to produce these new designs in volume.
- Built in China. Moved the entire project to its state-of-the-art factory in Shenzhen.
Meanwhile, GigOptix was also working on a 100G DP-QPSK polymer modulator. As GigOptix saw rapid progress on the 40G device, it asked Sanmina to co-design and manufacture its 100G DP-QPSK modulator. Sanmina:
- Helped design these ultra-compact solutions.
- Prototyped the devices in North America.
- Manufactured them in Shenzhen.
Together with GigOptix, Sanmina:
- Brought the first polymer modulator to market, fully qualified.
- Developed prototypes early. They began appearing within two to three months.
- Succeeded with the critical production time requirement. Sanmina got the 40G production line up and running in six months, in “record time,” according to GigOptix Chairman and CEO, Dr. Avi Katz.
- Swiftly produced the next generation 100G modulator.
CEO Dr. Katz congratulated Sanmina “for bringing up this leading production line in record time.” Added Vice President Dinu, “Sanmina was the right choice, for sure.”