Wireless Applications

Photovoltaic Converter Offers Sensors Strategic Advantages

May 5, 2006

Breakthrough in optical-to-electrical conversion efficiency enables sensors and transceivers to be powered over fiber, bringing competitive advantages to applications in industrial sensor, wireless communications, and medical industries.

MILPITAS, Calif., /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- JDSU, the leading enabler of broadband and optical innovation, announced that its Photonic Power Business Unit has achieved a world record in the conversion efficiency of laser light to electrical power. JDSU's 3 V and 5 V gallium arsenide Photovoltaic Power Converter has achieved optical-to-electrical conversion efficiency >50%. This breakthrough further enables the use of fiber optics to replace copper for power delivery where isolation from the surrounding environment is essential. Photonic power is especially beneficial for cost-effectively driving electronic devices operating in high-voltage, RF/EMI, and magnetic fields, where traditional copper options are more complex or impractical.

An efficiency of 50% pushes the boundaries of the maximum theoretical limit for photovoltaic power conversion. This improvement enables more power-hungry electronics—such as transducers, transceivers, and sensors—to be powered over fiber. The higher power efficiency also permits remote electronics to be powered by fiber over longer distances, such as tower-mounted installations for cellular and digital TV relay stations. Other applications are numerous, including underground exploration and medical applications where the isolated power allows the operation of devices inside strong magnetic fields, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

"With this breakthrough conversion efficiency, JDSU is better positioned to deliver solutions to the medical, industrial sensor, and wireless communications industries," said David Gudmundson, vice president of corporate development for JDSU. "We believe that the delivery of power over fiber can provide strategic and competitive advantages to a variety of applications that require isolated power and are looking for copper wire alternatives."

Currently, more than 10,000 units of the Photonic Power Converter have been deployed, serving more than 50 customers worldwide, serving a wide variety of market segments.

About JDSU
JDSU is committed to enabling broadband and optical innovation in the communications, commercial, and consumer markets. JDSU is the leading provider of communications test-and-measurement solutions and optical products for telecommunications service providers, cable operators, and network-equipment manufacturers. Furthermore, JDSU is the leading provider of innovative optical solutions for medical/environmental instrumentation, semiconductor processing, display, brand authentication, aerospace and defense, and decorative applications.

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