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June 12, 2000

[back to News Releases] [Sandia National Laboratories]

MEMS technology licensed by Sandia National Labs to AXSUN Technologies

[OCM Module]
Alignment structures, less than a 10th of an inch in size in this optical module, make use of Sandia National Laboratories' expertise in the LIGA microfabrication process. This photonic subsystem, by Sandia's licensing partner Axsun Technologies of Billerica, Mass., sits on an electronic assembly that occupies about 60 percent of the area of a business card (2.5 inches long x 1.7 inches wide). Information about LIGA is available at http://www.ca.sandia.gov/liga.
Download 300dpi JPEG image, 'ocm.jpg', 168K (Media are welcome to download/publish this image with related news stories.)

LIVERMORE, CA. and BILLERICA, MA. -- The Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories/California is licensing its technology in a unique, emerging MEMS technology known as LIGA to photonic subsystem provider AXSUN Technologies.

AXSUN's Agile Photonic SubsystemsTM utilize micro-mechanical alignment structures that are fabricated utilizing the LIGA process. These subsystems manipulate light, through tuning or switching signals at the optical layer, allowing existing optical telecommunications networks to increase functionality, performance and reliability to meet the explosive growth in data traffic.

This high performance photonic integration platform transitions optical packaging out of the transistor age, allowing the integration of nearly any optical function onto one high performance substrate. AXSUN's highly integrated subsystems are an order of magnitude smaller than existing offerings, assembled on a scalable automated manufacturing line, and allow more flexible and programmable system operation.

Based in Greater Boston's High Tech Corridor, AXSUN Technologies intends to establish a LIGA foundry in the Livermore area to meet its own needs for photonic packaging, and to provide foundry services to external customers.

"Expertise in LIGA design and fabrication is not widely available," stated James Lewis, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at AXSUN. "Sandia was a clear leader in this field, and an exceptional development partner for this key enabling technology."

Jill Hruby, who manages Sandia development of LIGA (a German acronym for lithography, plating and molding), said she believes AXSUN's foundry will provide the "first LIGA commercial production in the United States."

LIGA enables micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS) made of robust metals, with dimensions ranging from a few microns to millimeters.

AXSUN Technologies develops and manufactures a new class of photonic subsystems that provide higher levels of performance to telecommunications equipment manufacturers. The company's agile optical products are central to the transformation of the Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) infrastructure from an inflexible, constrained network to one that is agile and programmable at the optical layer. Information about AXSUN is available at www.axsun.com.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Media contact:
Nancy Garcia, negarci@sandia.gov, (925) 294-2932

Technical contact:
James Lewis, jlewis@axsun.com, (978) 262-0049, ext. 102

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