Kymata, IBM to develop optical chips

IBM and Kymata of Scotland will produce next-generation optical networking chips for high-speed e-business applications.

IBM and Kymata of Scotland will produce next-generation optical networking chips for high-speed e-business applications — moving closer to realisation of ‘all-optical’ communications networks.

Products will be designed around IBM’s unique siliconoxynitride (SiON) process technology. SiON applies high-volume semiconductor manufacturing techniques to optical chip-making to yield cost and performance advantages that can extend the use of optics in voice and data networks.

IBM is licensing its pump laser technology and its SiON technology to Kymata. SiON will enable Kymata to manufacture new chip designs for itself and IBM. Sample products developed by IBM and Kymata are expected to be available to customers starting in the first-half of 2001.

As part of the agreement, IBM has acquired a minority equity stake in Kymata.

Kymata was founded in 1998, and its headquarters are in Livingston, Scotland. It has customer support and design centers in Ottawa, Enschede (The Netherlands) and Pleasanton, Calif. It has sales offices in Boston and New Jersey. Kymata’s core business is the design and manufacture of advanced, planar, integrated optical components and subsystems for the telecom and datacom industry.

IBM and Kymata plan to develop products to allow network equipment to work with optical signals rather than electrical signals. The integrated, compact and tunable optical products IBM and Kymata expect to develop include: modules to provide enhanced functionality for filtering wavelengths of light beams sent through a fibre simultaneously; filters used to balance the intensity of light at different wavelengths; and optical switches.