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Proceedings Paper

Optical MEMS: past, present and future
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Paper Abstract

Spurred by the growth of the internet, Optical Telecommunications bandwidth, experienced unprecedented growth during late 1990's. During this time of great economic expansion, the creation of new enterprises was vast and the expansion of established component, system and services companies was breathtaking. Unfortunately, this positive economic state was short-lived. This period was followed in 2001-2004 by one of the most significant market crashes in history. During those 10 years of economic growth, about $20B in venture capital was invested in the optical telecom industry, most of this investment was lost in recent years. Many start-up industries which experienced unprecedented growth at the end of the 20th century were lost at the start of the 21st. (1) During this time many, innovative technologies were born and buried. However, many new capabilities emerged from this period of unrest; one such example is the advent of Optical MEMS (MOEMS). Many academics and corporate laboratories pursued the development of MOEMS during the economic boom and, in the author's view; MOEMS surfaced as a powerful and versatile tool set that has proved invaluable and in the last few years during economic downturn, stood the test of time. In the Telecommunications industry, for optical switching and wavelength management applications MOEMS has proven to be the technology of choice. (2) Variable Optical Attenuators (VOA), Wavelength Blockers (WB), Dynamic Gain Equalizers (DGE), and most recently Wavelength Selective Switches (WSS) are being used in the numerous recent network deployments. Moreover, agile networks of the future will have MOEMS at every node. This presentation will provide an overview of the history of MOEMS in Telecommunications, discuss its byproducts and offer a window into the future of the technology.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 October 2005
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5970, Photonic Applications in Devices and Communication Systems, 597024 (13 October 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.628014
Show Author Affiliations
Chandra Mouli Ramani, Polychromix, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5970:
Photonic Applications in Devices and Communication Systems
Peter Mascher; John C. Cartledge; Andrew Peter Knights; David V. Plant, Editor(s)

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