SBIR Phase I: All Optical Switch Based On The Photorefractive Nonlinear Rugate Effect
Small Business Information
Space Photonics Inc.
700 Research Center Blvd., Fayetteville, AR, 72701
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project proposes to put forth a highly innovative all-optical solid-state photonic switch based on an optically controlled nonlinear photo-refractive rugate structure. This innovation provides for a new and effective switching solution for advanced optical network routing and wavelength division multiplexing systems where switching time requirements are 10 to 15 msecs, i.e., circuit switching and routing. A rugate structure is defined by its continuous, often periodic, variation of the refractive index and can be used to produce diffracting optical devices. These devices can be grown using thin film deposition techniques and can provide efficient diffraction for use in wavelength dependent optical systems. However, once grown, such a structure has a fixed performance, diffracting at certain wavelengths for a certain incident angle, similar to standard off-the-shelf optical gratings. The proposed optically controlled rugate configuration provides a unique optical switch and simultaneous wavelength select-ability, while also providing an enormous potential for monolithic designs with no moving parts. The Phase I effort will include a comprehensive investigation and analysis of all potentially usable nonlinear materials, all potentially usable laser sources for optical control, optical and mechanical designs, and an experimental demonstration of the proposed optically controlled switching technique. The proposed all-optical switch technology will develop and market a new type of optical switching product for circuit switching and routing in metro-area networks (MANs). The product also has the potential for wide applications in the long haul fiber optic communications arena. Additionally, the all-optical wavelength tuning capacity can be utilized for a host of widely used wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) applications. The market for optical switching will remain strong; the goal is to develop an optical switch that will directly compete within a sector currently served by the telecom sector.
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