SBIR Phase II: Voltage Tunable Micro-Ring Resonators: Low-Cost, Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drops

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
NSF 05-557
Small Business Information
4865 E. 41st Ave, Suite 110, DENVER, CO, 80216
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator
 Scott Davis
 (303) 296-6766
Business Contact
 Scott Davis
Title: PhD
Phone: (303) 296-6766
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project entails the design and building of polarization independent, fiberdized, wavelength selective switches using patent pending EO-waveguide micro-ring technology developed and demonstrated as a result of work carried out under Phase I. The approach is electro-optic, rather than thermo-optic, and operates with negligible power consumption (< 30 microwatts per ring demonstrated in phase I), fast switching (< 100 microseconds demonstrated), larger index modulation (dn > 0.01 demonstrated, more possible) and importantly, will enable active polarization dependent loss (PDL) compensation. This will replace thermo-optically tuned ring resonators, which have provided only limited tunability (dn/dt =~ 1.5 x 10-5/oC), slower tuning times (> 3 milliseconds typical), high polarization dependency (no active PDL compensation possible), and are prohibitively power consumptive ( ~~ 0.5 Watts per ring). In the last century the low power transistor replaced the power hungry vacuum tube, thereby ushering in the age of integrated electronics. In a similar fashion, low-power LC-waveguides have the potential to replace high-power thermo-optics (providing a power savings of >10,000), thereby opening up applications and markets for integrated optics. In phase II we will transition our phase I feasibility demonstration into a fully functioning and packaged prototype. 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, which 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. According to Infonetics, a leading market research firm, the ROADM-enabled equipment market size nearly reached $600 million in 2005, tripling earlier forecasts. Over all growth will be determined by affordability and reliability of ROADMs technology, especially within the metro and access space. The technology outlined in this proposal if successful 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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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