Blog POET Expands Into Lithium Niobate Market

March 7th, 2022

POET Technologies’ announced partnership with Liobate Technologies marks the company’s foray into working with a new and promising material. POET’s proprietary Optical Interposer platform now has a chance to play a role in the growth of the lithium niobate industry, which is projected to expand to $37.711 billion by 2026, representing a CAGR of 24% from 2019, according to a report from Research Dive.

The importance of lithium niobate (LN) can’t be understated. It is a reliable and low-cost substance but for years its use has been limited because of its bulkiness and lack of power efficiency. That has changed thanks to advancements with thin-film lithium niobate (TFLN), which, as the POET news release on February 24 stated, is “known for its inherent high bandwidth, low insertion loss, nonlinear optical qualities and extreme reliability.” TFLN is enabling new applications that dovetail with POET’s own development and business roadmap, including in millimeter wave data communications, telecommunications, sensing, and quantum computing.

A versatile material, TFLN can be grown on sapphire and other substrates, using the metalorganic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD) process. Called lithium niobate-on-insulator (LNOI), the technology has gained attention from photonics industry experts because of the advantages it holds for reducing costs and increasing reliability for component and device manufacturers.

“Lithium niobate modulators have been used for the last 35 years, and have the best performance and reliability of any other modulator technology,” says POET Technologies President and General Manager Vivek Rajgarhia. “However, traditional LN modulators have suffered from their large size, which makes them less attractive and unusable for smaller, high-density applications — especially for cloud data centers. Liobate has solved this issue of by miniaturizing the LN modulator and providing the ability for high-density integration, while increasing the performance with low insertion loss and maintaining the proven reliability and track record of LN modulators.”

Among the companies that have made notable steps with lithium niobate is Nanjing-based Liobate Technologies. POET’s partnership with Liobate is a multi-phase, co-development project focused initially on a TFLN modulator to be incorporated directly onto a POET Optical Interposer for a POET 400/800Gps Transmit and Receive Optical Engine. It will be designed to address needs in POET’s target industries.

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