6 November 2001 Integration and manufacture of multifunctional planar lightwave circuits
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Abstract
The demands of exponentially growing Internet traffic, coupled with the advent of Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) fiber optic systems to meet those demands, have triggered a revolution in the telecommunications industry. This dramatic change has been built upon, and has driven, improvements in fiber optic component technology. The next generation of systems for the all optical network will require higher performance components coupled with dramatically lower costs. One approach to achieve significantly lower costs per function is to employ Planar Lightwave Circuits (PLC) to integrate multiple optical functions in a single package. PLCs are optical circuits laid out on a silicon wafer, and are made using tools and techniques developed to extremely high levels by the semi-conductor industry. In this way multiple components can be fabricated and interconnected at once, significantly reducing both the manufacturing and the packaging/assembly costs. Currently, the predominant commercial application of PLC technology is arrayed-waveguide gratings (AWG's) for multiplexing and demultiplexing multiple wavelength channels in a DWDM system. Although this is generally perceived as a single-function device, it can be performing the function of more than 100 discrete fiber-optic components and already represents a considerable degree of integration. Furthermore, programmable functions such as variable-optical attenuators (VOAs) and switches made with compatible PLC technology are now moving into commercial production. In this paper, we present results on the integration of active and passive functions together using PLC technology, e.g. a 40 channel AWG multiplexer with 40 individually controllable VOAs.
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George F. Lipscomb, Anthony J. Ticknor, Marc A. Stiller, Wenjie Chen, Paul Schroeter, "Integration and manufacture of multifunctional planar lightwave circuits", Proc. SPIE 4439, Design, Manufacturing, and Testing of Planar Optical Waveguide Devices, (6 November 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.447628; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.447628
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