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Proceedings Paper

Multi-mode interference couplers for 2x2 high speed GaAs-GaAlAs electro-optic switches
Author(s): S. Cao; L. Sun; J. Noad; R. James; D. Coulas; G. Lovell; E. Higgins; K. Laliberte
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Paper Abstract

Optical switches based on the electro-optic effect in III-Vs such as GaAs have fast optical switching times, typically shorter than 1 ns, and thus are promising candidates for a wide variety of optical network applications ranging from fault restoration and network configuration to optical packet switching. A Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) is often used to implement a 2x2 electo-optic switch in which two identical multi-mode interference (MMI) couplers connected by two identical parallel single mode waveguides (two MZI arms) with electrodes allowing to vary the phase difference between the two MZI arms based on the electro-optic effect. In this paper, we report the design, fabrication, and test of MMI couplers and 2x2 MZI-MMI optical switches based on these couplers. The waveguide structure has 5 undoped GaAs-GaAlAs layers with a 1.7um-thick core layer. In both simulation and fabrication, various values of MMI width, MMI length, and waveguide width have been considered. Both simulation and experimental results have indicated that the device performance is most sensitive to the MMI width and is less sensitive to the MMI length. From simulation and experimental results, optimized structures have been obtained for 2x2 MZI-MMI optical switches. Devices based on the optimized structure have been fabricated without electrodes. The fabricated MZI-MMI optical switches have shown very promising switching properties such as low insertion loss and low cross-talk. The propagation loss of straight waveguides is typically around 0.3 dB/cm. There is almost no measurable additional loss due to the MMI couplers. A cross-talk of - 22 dB has been achieved.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 February 2006
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6116, Optical Components and Materials III, 61160O (28 February 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.641502
Show Author Affiliations
S. Cao, Communications Research Ctr. (Canada)
L. Sun, Communications Research Ctr. (Canada)
J. Noad, Communications Research Ctr. (Canada)
R. James, Communications Research Ctr. (Canada)
D. Coulas, Communications Research Ctr. (Canada)
G. Lovell, Communications Research Ctr. (Canada)
E. Higgins, Communications Research Ctr. (Canada)
K. Laliberte, Communications Research Ctr. (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6116:
Optical Components and Materials III
Michel J. F. Digonnet; Shibin Jiang, Editor(s)

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