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The international telecommunications business is looking to the network equipment vendors and optical component manufacturers for inspiration and cost-effective new developments. A primary enabler ins this process is the emerging discipline of optical integration. Part science part art, it boils down to placing several interacting optical components on a semiconductor substrate-in effect, chips on a substrate. The primary driver is is reducing the cost of doing business-delivering multiple optical functions for a fraction of the cost of existing discrete single-task devices. This article discusses the benefits of integration and the challenges involved in producing the devices.