In the integrated optics area, there is fair parity overall between the United States and Japan. U.S. firms are generally ahead in providing LiNbO 3 modulators to the market, although Japan offers very good digital telecommunications devices. Japan has a more substantial effort in silica planar lightwave circuits. In semiconductors, Japan appears to be slightly ahead in integrated laser/modulators, because there is a much larger effort and more companies are working on commercial development. Both countries have excellent R&D efforts in photonic integrated circuits.

In packaging, there is parity between the United States and Japan in providing high-performance photonic devices, and both countries have very good efforts in silicon microbench R&D and other R&D for high-performance packages. Japanese companies dominate the package parts and subassembly business. In the area of future high-volume devices (e.g., packaged lasers for FTTC), Japan appears to be investing substantially more resources. For present high-volume devices such as CD lasers, Japan is dominant, except for LEDs, where the United States has a very strong position. Table 4.2 summarizes these results.

Table 4.2
Status of Integrated Optics and Packaging in Japan Compared to U.S.

Published: February 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian