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Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Sipex ships new ICs for CD/DVD platforms

Sipex Corporation announced today that it has shipped the first production orders of its SP8040, the first in a suite of new, fully integrated signal processing ICs that have been designed to enable the faster CD/DVD read speeds demanded by end-users in the personal computer space.

The SP8040 combines a photo-detector array and high-speed analog processing in a single chip for the pick-up head read-channel. This IC captures and converts light energy, reflected by the optical media, into electrical signals that are subsequently conditioned to create normalized output signals. Previously, high-speed designs used at least two separate devices to perform this function. In these designs, read channel speed was often limited by the parasitics the added interconnections introduced. Later this month, Sipex will begin sampling photo-detector ICs (PDICs), with additional integration and higher bandwidths that will make even faster CD/DVD read speeds possible.

Sipex has leveraged the same optical technology used in the PDICs to develop a line of Automatic Power Control (APC) ICs that provide a second, necessary function on the CD/DVD pick-up head. The APC monitors laser light intensity and provides closed-loop control of the power used to drive the laser diode. Using Sipex's new monolithic photo detectors, OEMs realize significant real estate savings and benefit from increased speed and better integrity of the power control circuitry. The company has already sampled key customers and production of the first APC products is scheduled for March 2002.

To complement the PDIC and APC ICs, Sipex has also developed a number of laser diode drivers that will be sampling later this month. With the introduction of this third family of ICs, Sipex will become the only semiconductor manufacturer to supply ICs for all three critical functions found on optical drive pick-up heads.

"We have made a significant investment in this new technology over the last couple of years and I am very happy to announce the fruits of all that hard work," said Jim Donegan, the CEO of Sipex. "Our relationships with the key optical storage device manufacturers, primarily in Japan, has been and will continue to be absolutely critical to our success. And I am happy to say, as we start delivering the first production runs, those relationships are healthier than ever."

Recordable DVD, a relatively new optical storage technology is expected to reach over 12 million shipped units in 2003, replacing CD-R/CD-RW, the current standard optical storage choice on new personal computers. "Sipex's revolutionary optical storage product offerings provide complete silicon solutions for either," reported Simon Prutton, VP Marketing for Sipex. "We are now uniquely positioned to enable performance increases in the short term and to optimize the performance and partitioning of the pick-up head electronics in the future".

Pricing and Availability:

The SP8040 is currently available. Product information can be found on the Sipex web site at Contact Sipex for samples of the SP8040, and sample availability dates for the APC and laser diode drivers.

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