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A comparison of optically and electronically controlled optical switches
KTH, School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Materials- and Nano Physics, Optics and Photonics, OFO. (FMI)
2013 (English)In: Applied Physics A: Materials Science & Processing, ISSN 0947-8396, E-ISSN 1432-0630, Vol. 113, no 2, 249-256 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Electronically and optically controlled optical switches are compared with respect to switch energy requirements. Only switches based on optical phase change are treated, since these have the largest flexibility. Further, only switches that preserve input wavelength at the output are considered, due to cascadeability requirements. It is argued that as long as 'all-optical' switches need electronically controlled switches for information transfer to the optical signals controlling the all-optical switch, this will compromise any other advantages that the all-optical switch and the corresponding systems might have. A further application for all-optical switches, which currently are orders of magnitude faster than electronically controlled ones, would be in banks of electronically controlled slower all-optical switches which are all-optically multiplexed to drive all-optical switches to data rates not currently achievable by electronically controlled switches. It is argued that such systems will be complex, requiring sophisticated electronic synchronization and being inferior to corresponding wavelength division multiplexing systems. Power dissipation and switch energy are analyzed for two different physical mechanisms for controllably changing the refractive index in the all-optical and electronically controlled optical switches: Pockels and Kerr effects as well as the plasma or free carrier effect and the relative merits of electronically and optically controlled optical switches using these are discussed. It is shown that, in the former case, (Pockels and Kerr effects) using representative data, electronically controlled switches are generally more power efficient than the all-optical counterparts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 113, no 2, 249-256 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-133515DOI: 10.1007/s00339-013-7914-xISI: 000325115900001ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84900573086OAI: diva2:662394
Swedish Research Council

QC 20131107

Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-11-06 Last updated: 2013-11-07Bibliographically approved

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