Athale Acquires Second Patent, University’s Eleventh

Posted: July 1, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Adam Modzelesky

A technological breakthrough, co-invented by George Mason’s Ravi Athale and a team of scientists from Johns Hopkins University, U.S. Army Research Labs, and Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation, has provided George Mason with its 11th patent.

Athale, a research associate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, now has earned two patents for George Mason. The first was granted on Dec. 31, 2002, after he invented the Periswitch, a device that changes the direction or location of an optical beam that is carrying data. This year, he and his colleagues received a patent for creating an apparatus that will allow products capable of increasing a communication device’s ability to move and control more data per second than is possible today.

“The main purpose of the invention is to bring about an intimate integration of high-performance electronic circuits and high-speed optoelectronic devices (lasers, detectors, modulators),” says Athale. “This integration is done by a technique called ‘flipped-chip bonding,’ where the individual unpackaged chips are brought into electrical contact through small conducting bumps deposited on their surfaces. Since this process is industry standard, it will lead to cheaper modules. Direct electrical connection between electrical and optoelectronic devices will also lead to higher-speed modules.”

According to Athale, the consuming public will be somewhat removed from the device’s everyday use because it is “most directly applicable to high-speed communications between computers in Local Area Networks as well as within a computer.” However, consumers will get a taste of the device’s aptitude via its “direct impact on services like video on demand that are very much relevant to consumer use.”

Athale further explains that product sales within the high-tech and communication industries have suffered due to the weak economy. “Nonetheless, it is extremely gratifying to see one’s invention materialize into a product.”

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