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Lithium Niobate Modulators Move Out of the Lab and Into CATV and Telco Networks

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By 1986, researchers demonstrated high-performance lithium niobate integrated optic modulators, switch arrays, and fiber optic gyro circuits. Yet, it would take another decade before there was adequate market demand for lithium niobate devices to support a healthy supplier base. This paper examines issues that inhibited early market acceptance of this technology and then describes the strong market pull that led to volume production of modulators for use in CATV (cable television) signal distribution and DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) telecommunications systems. Today, tens of thousands of modulators are being manufactured each year for use in these applications.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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