Faces in Photonics: Meir Bartur, Optical Zonu CEO


The Faces in Photonics series shines a light on scientists, researchers, educators, and business leaders from all over the world whose work is reshaping the optics and photonics industry. Here, we feature Meir Bartur, cofounder and CEO of Optical Zonu, a provider of radio-frequency-over-fiber (RFoF) transport solutions.

Meir Bartur's Inspiration for RFoF:

Meir Bartur's journey into RFoF technology began in the early 2000s when market changes in the telecommunications industry favored larger players and hindered smaller innovative companies like his own. Facing challenges such as the telecom freeze of 2002-2003 and the Chinese market's influence, his company adapted by exploring the niche application of analog RFoF, which offered untapped market opportunities.

Main Areas of Interest:

Bartur is fascinated by applying scientific advancements to create innovative products. Notably, his team developed a micro pluggable OTDR for precise network fault location. Driving positive change motivates him.

Exciting Developments in Military Photonics:

In the military realm, photonic developments include encrypted communication for autonomous battlefield operations, the adoption of high-frequency mmWave for enhanced communication (though obstructed in harsh conditions), RFoF solutions for reliable long-distance signal transmission, RF sensing for guided-munition systems, and free-space optics for satellite communications.

Optical Zonu's Contributions to Military Ops:

Optical Zonu's RFoF technologies enhance military operations' security and efficiency by converting RF signals into lightwaves. They ensure signal integrity and minimal interference when transmitting critical communications over long distances and challenging environments.

Disruptive Photonics Trends:

The most disruptive trends are advancements in higher-frequency direct-modulation lasers, particularly relevant for military applications due to cost and compactness advantages. Additionally, the U.S. is reshoring domestic fiber-optic component manufacturing to reduce dependence on other nations, backed by initiatives like the CHIPS Act.

Favorite Aspects of Work:

Bartur enjoys interacting with diverse individuals and applying creativity to solve critical communications challenges. Witnessing the growth of applications built on their foundation, especially in managing analog RFoF links in large systems, brings him fulfillment.

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