High capacity photonic integrated switching circuits

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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As the demand for high-capacity data transfer keeps increasing in high performance computing and in a broader range of system area networking environments; reconfiguring the strained networks at ever faster speeds with larger volumes of traffic has become a huge challenge. Formidable bottlenecks appear at the physical layer of these switched interconnects due to its energy consumption and footprint. The energy consumption of the highly sophisticated but increasingly unwieldy electronic switching systems is growing rapidly with line rate, and their designs are already being constrained by heat and power management issues. The routing of multi-Terabit/second data using optical techniques has been targeted by leading international industrial and academic research labs. So far the work has relied largely on discrete components which are bulky and incurconsiderable networking complexity. The integration of the most promising architectures is required in a way which fully leverages the advantages of photonic technologies. Photonic integration technologies offer the promise of low power consumption and reduced footprint. In particular, photonic integrated semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) gate-based circuits have received much attention as a potential solution. SOA gates exhibit multi-terahertz bandwidths and can be switched from a high-gain state to a high-loss state within a nanosecond using low-voltage electronics. In addition, in contrast to the electronic switching systems, their energy consumption does not rise with line rate. This dissertation will discuss, through the use of different kind of materials and integration technologies, that photonic integrated SOA-based optoelectronic switches can be scalable in either connectivity or data capacity and are poised to become a key technology for very high-speed applications. In Chapter 2, the optical switching background with the drawbacks of optical switches using electronic cores is discussed. The current optical technologies for switching are reviewed with special attention given to the SOA-based switches. Chapter 3 discusses the first demonstrations using quantum dot (QD) material to develop scalable and compact switching matrices operating in the 1.55µm telecommunication window. In Chapter 4, the capacity limitations of scalable quantum well (QW) SOA-based multistage switches is assessed through experimental studies for the first time. In Chapter 5 theoretical analysis on the dependence of data integrity as ultrahigh line-rate and number of monolithically integrated SOA-stages increases is discussed. Chapter 6 presents some designs for the next generation of large scale photonic integrated interconnects. A 16x16 switch architecture is described from its blocking properties to the new miniaturized elements proposed. Finally, Chapter 7 presents several recommendations for future work, along with some concluding remarks
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Dorren, Harm, Promotor
  • Williams, Kevin A., Copromotor
Award date30 Nov 2011
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Print ISBNs978-90-386-2999-5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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