Advances in integrated photonic circuits for packet-switched interconnection

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Sustained increases in capacity and connectivity are needed to overcome congestion in a range of broadband communication network nodes. Packet routing and switching in the electronic domain are leading to unsustainable energy- and bandwidth-densities, motivating research into hybrid solutions: optical switching engines are introduced for massive-bandwidth data transport while the electronic domain is clocked at more modest GHz rates to manage routing. Commercially-deployed optical switching engines using MEMS technologies are unwieldy and too slow to reconfigure for future packet-based networking. Optoelectronic packet-compliant switch technologies have been demonstrated as laboratory prototypes, but they have so far mostly used discretely pigtailed components, which are impractical for control plane development and product assembly. Integrated photonics has long held the promise of reduced hardware complexity and may be the critical step towards packet-compliant optical switching engines. Recently a number of laboratories world-wide have prototyped optical switching circuits using monolithic integration technology with up to several hundreds of integrated optical components per chip. Our own work has focused on multi-input to multi-output switching matrices. Recently we have demonstrated 8×8×8λ space and wavelength selective switches using gated cyclic routers and 16×16 broadband switching chips using monolithic multi-stage networks. We now operate these advanced circuits with custom control planes implemented with FPGAs to explore real time packet routing in multi-wavelength, multi-port test-beds. We review our contributions in the context of state of the art photonic integrated circuit technology and packet optical switching hardware demonstrations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Interconnects XIV
EditorsHenning Schröder, Ray T. Chen, Alexei L. Glebov
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780819499042
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
EventOptical Interconnects XIV - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 3 Feb 20145 Feb 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE


ConferenceOptical Interconnects XIV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Optical switches
  • Photonic integrated circuits
  • Semiconductor optical amplifiers


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