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Optical Engineering

Polymer-waveguide-based photonic switch
Author(s): Gary J. Grimes; Lee L. Blyler; Allen L. Larson; Scott E. Farleigh
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Paper Abstract

Polymer waveguide technology was exploited to build a photonic switch with enormous bandwidth capabilities at extremely low cost per path. The properties of polymer waveguides allowed the use of a low-cost multielement spatial light modulator in a guided wave application. A 6 x 6 ferroelectric liquid crystal array was used as a switching element to block or transmit light signals between input and output fibers. Visible laser diodes, plastic fibers, PIN detectors, and our proprietary polymeric mixing rod couplers were used to construct the switch. The polymeric fibers, couplers, and switching element allowed eliminating the need to time-division multiplex photonic channels through the switch because the optical paths were no longer costly. This, in turn, eliminated the electronic buffering and synchronization requirements of the switch. This is critical, because signals that can be buffered and synchronized can be switched electronically using GaAs cross-point arrays. Although data-transparent wavelength conversion is acceptable at the inputs and outputs of a photonic switch, buffering and synchronization are not acceptable for some applications. Our low cost polymer waveguide approach also eliminates the need for costly multi-GHz lasers when they are not needed on a per channel basis.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 October 1992
PDF: 7 pages
Opt. Eng. 31(10) doi: 10.1117/12.59976
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 31, Issue 10
Show Author Affiliations
Gary J. Grimes, AT&T (United States)
Lee L. Blyler, AT&T Bell Labs. (United States)
Allen L. Larson, Crystal Vision (United States)
Scott E. Farleigh, AT&T Bell Labs. (United States)

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