Agilent and UC San Diego Collaborate on Chip-Scale Photonic Test Facility

Fri, 04/23/2010 - 5:11am

Agilent Technologies the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), today announced they have established a new chip-scale micro- and nanophotonic- systems testing facility on the UCSD campus. The new facility is part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) project and is being set up in conjunction with the multi-university Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), led by The University of Arizona.

The new Chip-Scale Photonic Testing Facility is housed in the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) which is located on the UCSD campus. The facility will support testing and characterization of micro- and nano-scale ultra-high-speed optical components and subsystems for numerous applications, including technology for future data centers and cloud computing.

"Accurate, high-speed measurements are essential to the investigation of novel designs and fabrication techniques for nanophotonic devices," said CIAN Deputy Director Yeshaiahu Fainman, a Cymer Professor of Advanced Optical Technologies in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department of UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering. "This testing facility will hopefully lead to closer collaborations with our industry partners. Agilent Technologies has made it possible for us to build a facility with state-of-the-art test and measurement equipment that complement the technologies deployed in other UCSD and CIAN laboratories."

A complete suite of 40 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) test equipment will permit component-level compliance testing and troubleshooting of devices intended for NSF's MRI Data Center Testbed, further enhancing the work of Calit2 and CIAN in these areas. In the next few years, CIAN participants at UCSD expect to upgrade the basic data rates of the Chip-Scale Photonic Testing Facility from 40 Gbps to 100 Gbps (and greater). The facility also will add system- and network-level analysis capabilities, including modulation and bit-error rate measurement.

"In addition to testbeds, another major thrust of CIAN is the development of industrial collaborations and technology transfer to the private sector," said CIAN Director Nasser Peyghambarian, a professor of optics at UA. "We are delighted with the supportive role that Agilent Technologies is taking with respect to research in testbeds, industrial collaborations, technology transfer, education outreach and diversity."

"We are delighted to be associated with the CIAN research effort and to help establish the testbed facility at UCSD for CIAN," said Bill Wallace, Americas region director of university development, Agilent. "The research conducted by distinguished CIAN and UCSD faculty will enable new, affordable and flexible networks, with data service rates of 10 Gigabits-per-second. The research being conducted by CIAN is both interesting and transformational in nature."

Calit2 currently hosts a second photonics testbed at UCSD, which is one of the NSF's Engineering Research Centers. The photonics testbed is used by researchers from the nine universities participating in CIAN.

Based at the University of Arizona (UA), CIAN is designed to create transformative technology for optical access networks. Virtually any application requiring any resource can be seamlessly and efficiently aggregated and interfaced with existing and future core networks in a cost-effective manner.

UA recently began construction on a new testbed for optical aggregation networking, another NSF facility, with matching support from Agilent as well as Fujitsu Network Communications and Yokogawa Corp. of America. CIAN researchers also can access existing facilities at Columbia University for cross-layer optimization, and the University of Southern California for optical data introspection, which round out the principal sites for CIAN researchers who need specialized testing capabilities.

About CIAN

The Center for Integrated Access Networks is an NSF Engineering Research Center. It is a multi-institutional research effort based at The University of Arizona aimed at removing one of the last bottlenecks in the Internet by developing optoelectronic technologies for high-bandwidth, low-cost, widespread access and aggregation networks. Other members of CIAN include UC San Diego, Columbia University, USC, UC Berkeley, UCLA, California Institute of Technology, Norfolk State University and Tuskegee University. CIAN was created in 2008 with an $18.5 million grant from the NSF.

About Calit2 at UC San Diego

The UC San Diego Division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), together with Calit2's division at UC Irvine, house over 1,000 researchers across the two campuses, organized around more than 50 projects on the future of telecommunications and information technology and how these technologies will transform a range of applications important to the California economy and its citizens' quality of life. Calit2 will celebrate its 10th anniversary in December 2010.

Information about Agilent is available on the Web at


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