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Interview with J.J. Pan by WDM Solutions

From the June 2001 edition of WDM SOLUTIONS
Integration makes waves for the future
[talking technoloy]

J. J. Pan is founder and chairman of Lightwaves 2020. Along with his wife, he co-founded E-Tek Dynamics, which merged with JDS Uniphase in 2000. A pioneer in the fiber optic industry, he worked on coarse WDM projects for the US Department of Defense as early as 1976. He has consistently pursued his interests in the filed of microwave and millimeter-wave fiber optics. and other advanced component and system technologies. Pan received his education in the National Taiwan University and Harvard University.

WDM Solutions: Are you making the fiber laser yourself? What are the advantages?

Pan: We are applying fiber-Bragg-grating (FBG) techniques to fabricate an erbium/ytterbium (Er/Yb) co-doped fiber laser.  FBG is a well-developed technique to write grating patterns on the fiber core while employing a phase mask with UV illumination.  Our engineers have demonstrated the fiber laser, which has several advantages such as precise wavelength selection, good temperature stability, low intensity noise, narrow line width, and excellent tenability.  It is unlike the multi-electrode DFB (distributed feedback) or DBR (distributed Bragg reflector) tunable laser diodes, which possess the shortcoming of mode hopping.  The fiber laser has a continuous tuning range of 12 to 20 nm.  We purchase Er/Yb co-doped fiber and pump laser diodes and fabricate the FBG fiber ourselves to produce an interactive fiber laser with an active length of only 4 to 6 cm.

WDM Solutions: How easily, to what extent, and how soon can these components be integrated with each other?

Pan: Our company has extensive experience in the packaging integration of various components.  This integration, combined with innovative designs and proprietary material fabrication techniques provides the technical base for volume production at reduced manufacturing cost.  For example, we are integrating crystalline thin-film materials into VOAs and polarization controllers, while fabricating fiber-grating lasers by integrating FBG and semiconductor fabrication techniques.  We are also developing multiple-channel wavelength-transmitter modules and subsystems. By integrating in-house developed components such as a fiber laser, high-speed electro-optic modulator, VOA, and polarization controller.  We hope to bring the integrated subsystems to market in the near future.