Integrated circuit technologies are enabling intelligent, chip-based, optical packet switch matrices. Rapid real-time re-configurability at the photonic layer using integrated circuit technologies is expected to enable cost-effective, energy-efficient, and transparent data communications. InP integrated photonic circuits offer high-performance amplifiers, switches, modulators, detectors, and de/multiplexers in the same wafer-scale processes. The complexity of these circuits has been transformed as the process technologies have matured, enabling component counts to increase to many hundreds per chip. Active–passive monolithic integration has enabled switching matrices with up to 480 components, connecting 16 inputs to 16 outputs. Integrated switching matrices route data streams of hundreds of gigabits per second. Multi-path and packet time-scale switching have been demonstrated in the laboratory to route between multiple fibre connections. Wavelength-granularity routing and monitoring is realised inside the chip. In this paper, we review the current status in InP integrated photonics for optical switch matrices, paying particular attention to the additional on-chip functions that become feasible with active component integration. We highlight the opportunities for introducing intelligence at the physical layer and explore the requirements and opportunities for cost-effective, scalable switching.
Stabile, R., Albores-Mejia, A., Rohit, A., & Williams, K. A. (2016). Integrated optical switch matrices for packet data networks. Microsystems & Nanoengineering, 2, . https://doi.org/10.1038/micronano.2015.42