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Proceedings Paper

Low-loss and low-polarization-dependent fiber variable optical attenuators
Author(s): Tigran Galstian; Armen Zohrabyan; Amir Tork; Rouslan Birabassov; Richard Jewell; Dany Dumont; Bertrand Gagnon
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Paper Abstract

We present the optical performances of a compact variable optical attenuator (VOA) developed at Photintech. The presented VOA’s operation principle is based on the guided wave evanescent field manipulation. This approach allows the cost effective fabrication of VOAs with extremely low insertion loss, below 0.1 dB. The access to the evanescent portion of the guided radiation is achieved by removing a portion of the original waveguide’s cladding and replacing it by a thermo-optic composite polymer material. By changing the temperature of the thermo-optic material we create a partial leakage of the guided radiation into the replaced cladding area, attenuating thus the guided radiation. It is well known however, that the application of polymer materials for optical component fabrication creates significant birefringence due to the shrinkage and thermal stresses. As a result, the polarisation dependence of such devices is relatively high. We apply a specific cladding geometry and heating electrode (pending patent of Photintech inc), which ensures axial compensation of the birefringence, providing thus very small polarisation dependence. The design provides also a high dynamic range operation (above 50dB). An in-house designed electronic board allow the VOA operation in three different regimes: direct driving, constant output power or constant attenuation coefficient with a precision as better as 0.1dB. The developed VOA device can be used in agile optical networks, for such applications as dynamic gain equalisation, dynamic channel equalisation, optical transmitter power control and receivers protection in the telecommunication systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 December 2004
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5577, Photonics North 2004: Optical Components and Devices, (20 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.567249
Show Author Affiliations
Tigran Galstian, Photintech Inc. (Canada)
Laval Univ. (Canada)
Armen Zohrabyan, Photintech Inc. (Canada)
Amir Tork, Photintech Inc. (Canada)
Rouslan Birabassov, Photintech Inc. (Canada)
Richard Jewell, Photintech Inc. (Canada)
Dany Dumont, Photintech Inc. (Canada)
Bertrand Gagnon, Photintech Inc. (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5577:
Photonics North 2004: Optical Components and Devices
John C. Armitage; Simon Fafard; Roger A. Lessard; George A. Lampropoulos, Editor(s)

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