Abstract

Feauture Issue on Photonics in Switching

Micromirrors constitute a promising technological platform for implementing optical switches. The free-space propagation of optical signals in microelectromechanical system switches exhibits an exponential decrease in signal power as a function of the distance traveled. The strong dependence of power on distance leads to a wide dynamic range of power losses in the proposed 2D mirror architecture thereby limiting their use to small-scale switches. We present a ZL-switching matrix, which is a simple 2D architecture that is capable of realizing large-scale optical switches. Performance of the ZL-switching matrix in terms of minimizing variations in power losses is discussed, and comparison with previous switching architectures is presented.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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