SBIR Phase I: Voltage tunable micro-ring resonators: low-cost, reconfigurable optical add-drops
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project entails the construction of voltage tunable micro-ring, optical waveguide resonators. The devices will exploit novel waveguide electro-optic technology capable of a large index modulation (currently ?n >.02 with the potential for ?n >.05). This large index modulation enables micro-ring structure with widely tunable resonances (>10 nm, and potentially up to 100 nm), fast tuning times (< 1 millisecond), low optical losses, and extremely low power consumption (< 0.05 milliwatts per ring). Furthermore, innovative electrode geometry provides polarization independent operation. These voltage tuned micro-rings will replace thermo-optically tuned ring resonators, which have provided only limited tunability ( dn/dt ~~ 1.5~~10-5/oC), have high polarization dependency, and have historically been prohibitively power consumptive ( ~~ 0.5 Watts per ring). Finally, the voltage tuned micro-ring resonators will enable a low cost, ultra-compact reconfigurable optical add/drop, which is the critical component in a wide array of high-bandwidth electro-optical communications systems. As computing power and bandwidth continue to grow (e.g., streaming media), low-cost electro optical filtering and switching systems will be required to satisfy pending fiber-to-the-home and "last mile" deployment needs. Since 2002, United States and European deployment of long-haul dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) systems have been almost entirely constructed from reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers (ROADM). A typical deployed system works by reading incoming optical signals and converting them to electrical signals that can then be routed. Conversion back to optical is performed by an array of tunable lasers. This brute force method, while providing useful performance, is cost prohibitive for small network deployment. The current total addressable world market for ROADMs technology is around $3.46 billion with double digit growth expected through 2010. Over all growth will be determined by affordability and reliability of ROADMs technology. The technology outlined in this proposal will contribute a new and inherently agile all optical solution by reducing cost while maintaining performance and reliability. In addition to ROADMs, the voltage tunable micro-rings will enable a wide array of useful devices, ranging from spectral filters, to optical cross-connects, to routers, to name only a few.
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4865 East 41st Avenue Denver, CO 80216
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