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Pirelli-MIT: agreement for optical nanotech.

Pirelli Labs will invest 2 million dollars in the first
year

Milan, 14 January 2002 – Pirelli Labs, the new high-tech
center of the Pirelli group, and the Microphotonics Center of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced a
five-year-long framework agreement for advanced basic research in
the field of photonics. In the first year Pirelli Labs will make an
investment of $2 million.

Under the agreement, visiting scientists from both organizations
will work in MIT laboratories and the new clean rooms of Pirelli
Labs near Milan. The latter are advanced laboratories devoted to
research and production of optical components for
telecommunications based on nanotechnologies (0.0001 mm size) and
will occupy about 5,000 square meters (sqm) in the new Pirelli Labs
building.

” This agreement further strengthens the Pirelli leadership in
the research and development of ever more advanced products and
solutions,” remarked Giorgio Grasso, CEO of Pirelli Labs-Optical
Innovation. ” Nanotechnology constitutes the future of optical
fiber telecommunications, as it will permit the miniaturization and
large-scale integration of optical components with a consequent
reduction in the manufacturing costs as production volumes
increase.”

Pirelli and MIT scientists will study a new generation of
integrated optical systems based on nanotechnologies. Pirelli’s
goal is to utilize all of the wavelengths available in a
fiber-optic cable to maximize the amount of data transmitted on
each fiber and create a breakthrough in the field of broad-band
telecommunications.

The goal is to provide very high quality services over an
ultra-broad band right up to the residential subscriber.
Pirelli-maker of the first fiber optical amplifier-has invested
since the end of the 80′s in the field of optical
telecommunications. For this field to be profitable, it requires
nanotechnology to lower the costs.

Soon everyone, right up to the final subscriber, will have
access to very high bandwidth. The results of this joint research
will be developed by Pirelli. Pirelli expects to make it available
to the optical communication systems market by the beginning of
2004.

” The Research Alliance with Pirelli Labs joins MIT with a world
class R& D center in the field of telecommunications components
and related technology,” said Professor Lionel Kimerling, Director
of the MIT Microphotonics Center. ” Pirelli’s vision for the use of
nanotechnology for photonic integrated circuits is coincident with
the research program of the MIT Microphotonics Center. We expect to
benefit greatly from the applications focus that this industrial
partnership brings.”

The Pirelli-MIT Research Alliance for Microphotonic Circuits
will be managed by a joint Board of Governors consisting of three
representatives each from Pirelli and MIT.

MIT has pioneered the use of nanotechnology in realizing optical
integrated circuits (IC) capable of high-level functionality. In
addition to groundbreaking research creating the building blocks of
optical ICs, MIT researchers have for the first time demonstrated
that such building blocks-waveguides, bends, and splitters-can be
integrated with active structures such as lasers, amplifiers, and
modulators.

Pirelli Labs, with a facility of 13,000 sqm in the
Milano-Bicocca area, represents the apex of the Pirelli Group’s
advanced research and is directly connected to all of the Pirelli
research centers worldwide, as well as to important universities,
with the objective of developing synergies between basic research
and applications. In the field of nanofabrication, Pirelli Labs can
count on the most sophisticated equipment both for research and for
production: the Labs’ mission is to realize prototypes of new
technology, which are to be spun-off to specifically created high
tech companies.

The MIT Microphotonics Center research addresses the use of new
materials, devices and architectures for integrated photonic
systems. MIT faculty and students will work with Pirelli Labs
scientists and engineers in vertically integrated groups whose
responsibilities range from design to the fabrication of functional
prototypes.