In the last few years the advent of D-WDM systems based on Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifiers (EDFA) has pushed Lithium Niobate technology towards massive field deployment, generating an abrupt increase of production volumes of 2.5 Gbit/s amplitude modulators. The evolution of the new systems up to 10 Gbit/s transmission speed, is now asking for larger bandwidth modulators. Simultaneously the research in the laboratories is working on the development of new component families. As an example, in the area of modulators, a new device has been recently introduced to the market, integrating (on the same chip) a variable attenuator with the 2.5 Gbit/s modulator, to allow individual channel pre-equalization. Other very promising functionalities can be implemented using Acousto-Optical Tunable Filters (AOTF's). Taking advantage of their fast tuning speed, Optical Channel Analyzers (OCA) can be made allowing full EDFA spectrum scanning time of the order of few milliseconds. Finally new applications are coming for the electro-optical switching matrices. Due to their high switching speed, these components can be used for routing and protection functions in new photonic networks.
Sergio S. Bosso,
"Applications of lithium niobate integrated optic in telecommunication systems", Proc. SPIE 3620, Integrated Optics Devices III, (26 March 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.343751; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.343751