13 February 2016 Ultrafast laser inscription of 3D components for spatial multiplexing
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The thirst for bandwidth in telecommunications networks is becoming ever larger due to bandwidth hungry applications such as video-on-demand. To further increase the bandwidth capacity, engineers are now seeking to imprint information on the last remaining degree of freedom of the lightwave carrier – space. This has given rise to the field of Space Division Multiplexing (SDM). In essence, the concept of SDM simple; we aim to use the different spatial modes of an optical fibre as multiplexed data transmission channels. These modes could either be in the form of separate singlemodes in a multicore optical fibre, individual spatial modes of a multimode fibre, or indeed the individual spatial modes of a multimode multicore optical fibre. Regardless of the particular “flavour” of SDM in question, it is clear that significant interfacing issues exist between the optical fibres used in SDM and the conventional single-mode planar lightwave circuits that are essential to process the light (e.g. arrayed waveguide gratings and splitters), and efficient interconnect technologies will be required. One fabrication technology that has emerged as a possible route to solve these interconnection issues is ultrafast laser inscription (ULI), which relies on the use of focused ultrashort laser pulses to directly inscribe three-dimensional waveguide structures inside a bulk dielectric. In this paper, I describe some of the work that has been conducted around the world to apply the unique waveguide fabrication capabilities of ULI to the development of 3D photonic components for applications in SDM.
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Robert R. Thomson, Robert R. Thomson, } "Ultrafast laser inscription of 3D components for spatial multiplexing", Proc. SPIE 9774, Next-Generation Optical Communication: Components, Sub-Systems, and Systems V, 97740O (13 February 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2210883; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2210883

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