All-optical regeneration will be a key functionality in future high-speed networks, since the detrimental effects of ASE- and jitter accumulation, as well as fiber dispersion, will put a strict limit on the size of the network.1 The ideal regenerator would be an all-optical device capable of performing 3R regeneration on a number of WDM channels simultaneously. However, this would require temporal synchronization of all the channels, as well as a regeneration scheme very tolerant towards power level and cross-talk.2 These issues may be solved in the future, but until then regeneration will have to be performed on each channel separately. This puts very stringent requirements on the physical size and power consumption of each regenerator, if they are to be integrated on a single chip. In most of the regeneration schemes reported so far, e.g. using all-active Michelson (MI) or Mach-Zehnder (MZI) interferometers, simultaneous wavelength conversion to a CW or clock signal is an inherent property.3 This is an advantage in a scenario where wavelength conversion is required anyway, but if the conversion is not desirable, an additional wavelength converter is needed to return to the original input wavelength.3 This complicates integration, and increases the physical size of the device considerably. So-called pass-through 2R regeneration schemes, in which wavelength conversion is not performed, have been demonstrated at up to 40 Gb/s using the MI and MZI.4 In these schemes the data signal does not interact with additional signals, which means that a CW or clock source can be avoided at the input, and a filter is no longer needed at the output. This greatly reduces complexity and enables integration of a large number of regenerators for use in parts of the network where wavelength conversion is not necessary.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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