In the past the optical component market has been mainly driven by performances. Today, as the number of competitors has drastically increased, the system integrators have a wide range of possible suppliers and solutions giving them the possibility to be more focused on cost and also on footprint reduction. So, if performances are still essential, low cost and Small Form Factor issues are becoming more and more crucial in selecting components. Another evolution in the market is the current request of the optical system companies to simplify the supply chain in order to reduce the assembling and testing steps at system level. This corresponds to a growing demand in providing subassemblies, modules or hybrid integrated components: that means also Integration will be an issue in which all the optical component companies will compete to gain market shares. As we can see looking several examples offered by electronic market, to combine low cost and SFF is a very challenging task but Integration can help in achieving both features. In this work we present how these issues could be approached giving examples of some advanced solutions applied to LiNbO<sub>3</sub> modulators. In particular we describe the progress made on automation, new materials and low cost fabrication methods for the parts. We also introduce an approach in integrating optical and electrical functionality on LiNbO<sub>3</sub> modulators including RF driver, bias control loop, attenuator and photodiode integrated in a single device.
A number of optical components being developed exhibit, due to the material used in their fabrication, temperature sensitive properties. These properties necessitate that the component is accurately controlled in temperature, in certain cases to +/- 0.1 degree(s)C (ambient temperature 0 degree(s)C-70 degree(s)C). Using standard techniques this temperature control can be made especially difficult when the material being controlled has a very low thermal conductivity, for example, devices made using Lithium Niobate or Polymers. In this paper the thermal aspects of the packaging of these materials are analyzed, and a heat shielding technique is proposed which is capable of controlling the temperature of the component extremely accurately. Extensive Finite Element Analysis is used to demonstrate the improved performance of the technique. Details of prototype construction and results for these prototypes with Lithium Niobate and Polymer devices are reported and discussed.