This is an 8" sislicon wafer that has the first functional planar waveguides designed and made for the communication industry in the late 1990s capable of splitting the signals transmitted (48 times) through fiber optic cable to the home. Fiber optic,s are fast becomming the main source of communication. It was desiged by Scientists / Engineers at Southamton university and the first production wafer was made by a dedicated and very skilled workforce at a high technology cleanroom (class 10, .10micron) in Livingston Scotland. The plant was eventually bought by Alcatel (the French technology Giants) in early 2000.
Fibre to the home technology is a paradym shift from copper wire to Fibre optics and although the general public is only now becomming aware of its importance and capability, this technology will find new and exciting uses in the near and distant future. The UK has one of the best records for the developement and applications of turning logic into light and then back to logic, these new technologies are important for the future.
(the wafer was presented to me for my efforts).