5/2/2002 6:05:00 AM
BOTHELL, Wash., May 2, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Lumera Corporation, a leader in
electro-optic polymer materials and a subsidiary of Microvision, Inc.
(Nasdaq:MVIS) reported today that, in collaboration with its research partners
at the University of Washington, it has demonstrated new materials that exhibit
unprecedented levels of electro-optic activity.
The company says it is using the materials for the creation of optical
components that will feature major improvements in drive voltage, optical loss
and device size over devices produced today from crystalline materials such as
Lithium Niobate. Such improvements provide key advantages in the design of
optical transmission systems.
Lithium Niobate has properties that allow it to manipulate light passing through
it by applying a voltage to a waveguide structure in the crystal, making it
useful for controlling an optical beam with an electronic signal, but Lumera’s
polymers have recently shown electro-optic activity that is more than twice that
of Lithium Niobate. As a result, a lower power electrical signal can be used
reducing or eliminating the need for transformers and reducing heat. Smaller
size makes the devices easier to package and more suitable for a wider range of
applications and reduced optical loss means that less signal conditioning is
needed to maintain a high quality optical signal.
But while Lumera is working to build its first active devices from these
materials, researchers at the University of Washington, led by Dr. Larry Dalton
and Dr. Alex Jen have already reported materials that demonstrate even higher
levels of electro-optic activity. According to Lumera CEO Tom Mino, the
University’s latest materials, which were developed under a research agreement
and exclusive license with Lumera, are achieving levels of electro-optic
activity that are an additional 50% higher than those recently demonstrated at
Lumera (or three times that of Lithium Niobate).
“These high levels of activity and the degree and rate of improvement are
exactly what makes this a disruptive technology,” said Mino. “We are going to
deliver benefits to customers in multiple dimensions. It’s the sort of quantum
improvement that is needed in the industry today. These highly active materials
are key objectives for our defense-related efforts as well. Low-loss, high-speed
optical modulators are essential to enabling advanced phased-array antenna
systems for a variety of guidance, navigation and communication applications.
Low drive voltage and low optical loss are also the two key features that make a
material suitable for integrating multiple optical components on a chip. I
anticipate that when Dr. Dalton and Dr. Jen formally report their results there
will be a strong reaction from the technical community on multiple fronts.”
In separate news, the University of Washington recently reported that it has
been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as the host of one of six
new science and technology centers, a designation that would place the
university firmly at the leading edge of research to develop groundbreaking
information technology in the area of photonics.
The Center for Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research is to
be directed by Dr. Dalton and is set to receive up to $16 million in NSF funding
in the next five years and could receive more than twice that amount over 10
“The technology under research in this center is revolutionary and it is already
affecting thinking at corporations around the world,” Dalton said. “I think this
is going to create tremendous visibility for the region and for the work that we
are doing with Lumera.”
“It will be a huge benefit to Lumera to be in the center of this kind of
regional critical mass in photonics research,” said Mino. “We have contracted
for a multiyear program with UW and are experiencing tremendous momentum in our materials research already. We are thrilled for the University and delighted
with the prospects for our ongoing collaboration.”
Mino indicated that Lumera is expecting to demonstrate its first working
modulators very soon. “It’s hard not to feel the excitement,” said Mino. “This
is truly a platform technology, and modulators for optical transmission systems
is only the beginning of the scope of possible applications.”
“If we’re right, this is where the future lies,” Dalton said. “The technology we
are developing should have a significant economic impact on the Seattle area and
the nation. It will have impacts on telecommunications, defense, computing,
transportation, and personal and home electronics.”
About Microvision: www.mvis.com
Headquartered in Bothell, WA, Microvision Inc. is the developer of the patented
retinal scanning display technology and a world leader in micro miniature
optical scanning technology for display and imaging applications. The company’s
technology has applications in a broad range of military, medical, industrial,
professional and consumer information products. Nomad is a trademark of
Microvision, Inc. Microvision owns 58% of Lumera.
About Lumera: www.lumera.com
Lumera Corporation is a subsidiary of Microvision, Inc. developing and
commercializing radically new electro-optic materials and devices that utilize
the non-linear optical properties of a new class of proprietary organic
compounds synthesized in the company’s laboratories in Bothell, Washington.
The enabling capabilities of these light-switching materials and devices are
expected to dramatically improve the performance and reduce the cost of
electro-optic components used for fiber-optic telecommunications and data
communications systems, optical computing and a wide variety of other existing
and new optical signal processing applications. In cooperation with leading
scientists and universities, as well as strategic corporate partners, Lumera
will introduce materials and components that are the culmination of more than a
decade of university and corporate research in this field. www.lumera.com
Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer
Certain statements contained in this release, including plans for product
development, as well as statements containing words like “believe,”
“anticipate,” “hope,” “intend,” “seek,” “expect,” and other similar expressions,
are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those
projected in the company’s forward-looking statements include the following:
market acceptance of our technologies and products; our financial and technical
resources relative to those of our competitors; our ability to keep up with
rapid technological change; government regulation of our technologies; our
ability to enforce our intellectual property rights and protect our proprietary
technologies; the ability to obtain additional contract awards; the timing of
commercial product launches; the ability to achieve key technical milestones in
key products; and other risk factors identified from time to time in the
company’s SEC reports, including in its Annual Report on 10-K for the year ended
December 31, 2001 and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.
Lumera Corporation/Microvision, Inc.
Brian Heagler, 425/415-6748
Matt Nichols, 425/415-6748
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