Microvision Launches Subsidiary to Commercialize Groundbreaking Platform Technology for High-Performance Fiber-Optic Components
BOTHELL, Wash., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ — Microvision, Inc. (Nasdaq: MVIS) today announced the formal launch of a subsidiary company, Lumera Corporation ( http://www.lumera.com ), that is engaged in the development of high-performance active and passive components for optical networks. The company’s superior optical component technology is based on breakthrough work in proprietary electro-optic polymer materials conducted by the company and its research partners at the University of Washington.
Lumera’s polymer materials are uniquely engineered at the molecular level
to enable active components, such as electro-optic modulators used in
fiber-optic transmission, that feature a combination of the fastest switching
speeds with the lowest drive voltages and optical losses in the industry. The
company is also applying its innovative materials engineering to develop novel
waveguide amplifiers, low-loss passive devices, ultra-fast photonic packet
switches and a variety of integrated devices featuring both planar
(single layer) integration and unique multi-layer structures. The combination
of high-bandwidth, low-voltage and integration is a key to enabling the faster
data rates, longer transmission distances and lower costs sought after by
network systems providers and network operators, as they roll out the new
generation of all-optical networks to meet explosive demand for communications
According to industry analysts the market for fiber-optic components is
expected to show dramatic growth from $5.5 billion today to nearly $23 billion
by 2003 and to $150 billion by 2005.
“There are four predominant themes in the component marketplace right
now,” said Todd McIntyre, Lumera Vice President for business development.
“Faster speed, more integration, smaller size and lower cost. Lumera has a
disruptive technology that can deliver substantial gains in all of these
areas. The improved signal quality and unique gain features offered by our
planned products are also important to the industry’s objectives of greater
transmission distances and all-optical signal processing.”
“While several companies provide optical components today, they’re all
based on the same basic materials so none of them really has a fundamental
advantage,” said Microvision’s President and CEO, Rick Rutkowski. “Lumera has
established a leadership position with a proprietary platform technology that
will enable components and systems that are not only superior but are also
competitively unique. We believe these advantages place the company in an
excellent competitive position.”
Prototype devices based on materials developed by Lumera’s research team
have already achieved record-setting bandwidth (in excess of 100 GHz) and
operating voltages (below 1 volt) in demonstrations at commercial and
government research labs. Lumera expects to make prototype devices available
to customers for testing during 2001 with commercial production scheduled to
begin during 2002.
The company will market its unique high performance optical components to
optical systems providers who are moving aggressively to gain a competitive
edge in the emerging market for 40 gigabit per second (Gbps) transmission over
multi-channel (WDM and DWDM) optical networks. Devices currently available in
the market are based on older lithium niobate or gallium arsenide materials
technology and have difficulty achieving the required data rates without
requiring prohibitively high operating voltages. Current materials are also
not well suited to higher levels of device integration.
“40 gigabit transmission is quickly becoming the sweet spot in the
market,” McIntyre added. “10 gigabit systems have been central in
establishing the competitive landscape in the systems business over last
several years. Having grown tenfold in just two years, the market for
10 gigabit modulators has already surpassed the 2.5 gigabit market. All of
the major players are now looking to get a leg up on 40 gigabit systems, and
Lumera has the best way to deliver the right combination of performance and
cost. We intend to be the first company to successfully commercialize
polymer-based electro-optic devices, and we think our leadership in materials
will keep us way out in front.”
Lumera is completing the first phase of a contract with the U.S. Air Force
to support development of a very innovative phased-array antenna system. The
materials developed by the company’s researchers and partners have also been
used to demonstrate ultra-stable tunable oscillators, ultra-fast analog to
digital conversion and other powerful effects that are the basic building
blocks for all manner of microphotonic signal processors.”
“The shift from electronics to photonics is just getting started,” offered
Lumera’s Chairman Bill Owens. “This is a company with lots of opportunities.
It’s a company that is in the right place, at the right time, with the right
Lumera has obtained an exclusive worldwide license from the University of
Washington (UW) to key intellectual property based on the highly publicized
developments by UW professors Dr. Larry Dalton and Dr. Bruce Robinson. Dalton
and Robinson are widely acknowledged as being world leaders in the development
of electro-optic materials development. James Grote, an electrical engineer
with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base,
says the work of Dalton and his coworkers is a major milestone. No one else
in the world has come close to what they have achieved.
The company has also entered into an agreement to sponsor ongoing
materials research at the UW under Dr. Dalton’s technical leadership. Under
the agreement, the university owns an equity position in Lumera and will hold
a seat on the company’s board of directors.
Lumera will operate independently as a subsidiary of Microvision, with a
separate management team reporting to Lumera’s own board of directors. The
subsidiary company expects to complete a private round of financing during the
current quarter. Microvision currently owns more than 75% of Lumera’s
outstanding stock. Other shareholders include the UW, Dr. Dalton and
Dr. Robinson and a small group of founding shareholders including members of
Lumera’s board of directors.
Microvision will host an Internet presentation and telephone conference
call today at 8:00 am PT. The presentation can be accessed via the web at
http://www.vcall.com (enter ticker symbol MVIS). The conference call can be accessed
via phone at 913-981-4903 (enter code 552730).
Headquartered in Bothell, Wash., 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 application in a broad range of military,
medical, industrial, professional and consumer information products.
The information set forth in this release includes “forward-looking
statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934, as amended, and is subject to the safe harbor created by those
sections. Certain factors that realistically could cause results to differ
materially from those projected in the company’s forward-looking statements
are set forth in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly
Reports on Form 10-Q, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.