We demonstrate the automatic thermal alignment of photonic components within an integrated optical switch. The WDM optical switch involves switching elements, wavelength de-multiplexers, interleavers and monitors each one needing independent control. Our system manages rerouting of channels coming from four different directions, each carrying 12, 200GHz spaced, wavelengths into eight add/drop ports. The integrated device includes 12 interleavers, which can act either as optical de-interleavers to split the optical signal into odd and even channels or as optical interleavers that recombine the odd and even channels coming from the switching matrix. Integrated Ge photodiodes are placed in key positions within the photonic integrated circuit (PIC) are serve for monitoring. An electronic integrated circuit (EIC) drives the photonic elements by means of dedicated heating circuits (824 on-board heater control cells, 768 for the switching elements and 56 for the interleavers and the mux/de-mux) and reads out the Ge diodes photocurrent through TIAs. We applied a stochastic optimization algorithm to align the spectral response of the interleavers to the ITU grid. We exploit the thermo-optic effect to shift the interleavers pass-band in a desired spectral position. The interleavers are provided with dedicated metallic heaters that can be operated in order to tune the interleaver response, which is typically misaligned due to fabrication inaccuracies. The experimental setup is made of a tunable laser coupled with one input port of optical switch. The optimization algorithm is implemented via a software to drive the EIC till finding the best heating configuration (on the two branches of the interleaver) on the basis of the monitor diode-feedback. This way, the even and odd wavelengths input in the interleaver are directed toward the wanted lines within the switching matrix. Our method has been used for aligning the micro-ring based switching elements in the PIC as well. In that case, the integrated Ge photodiodes have been used to align the photonic components in the PIC in order to enable different pathways for the routing or the broadcasting operation of the optical switch. With no bias applied to the heaters of the switching elements, the optical signal is expected to be maximum at the through port. When the micro-ring heaters are biased, the feedback controller finds the best set of heating values that minimize the optical power at the through port of the switching node. This way, the optical signal is coupled in the drop port and the node is enabled for switching. The algorithm, implemented in LabVIEW, converges over multiple instances and it is robust against stagnation. This work aims at enabling the automatic reconfiguration/restoration of the whole WDW optical switch.
Astghik Chalyan, Stefano Tondini, Giorgio Fontana, Lorenzo Pavesi, Nikola Zecevic, Michael Hofbauer, Bernhard Goll, Horst Zimmermann, Francesco Testa, Stefano Stracca, Alberto Bianchi, Costanza Manganelli, Philippe Velha, Paolo Pintus, Claudio Oton, Christophe Kopp, Laetitia Adelmini, Olivier Lemonnier, Gabriel Pares, Guido Chiaretti, Aina Serrano, Jose Ángel Ayucar, Giovani Battista Preve, Jong Moo Lee, and Claudio Castellan, "Automatic alignment of photonic components of massive optical switch to ITU channels (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10686, Silicon Photonics: From Fundamental Research to Manufacturing, 1068613 (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 26, 2018; Published: 23 May 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2306433.5788753334001.
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