Journal article

Large-scale silicon photonic switches with movable directional couplers

Fast optical circuit switches (OCSs) with high port count offer reconfigurable bandwidth in optical networks and have the potential to significantly increase the performance and efficiency of modern datacenters. In this paper, we report on a new type of integrated OCS that combines silicon photonics with MEMS actuation. The switch is built on a 50 × 50 passive crossbar network with very low optical loss (0.04 dB/crossing). Efficient switching is achieved by a pair of directional couplers with moving waveguides and an actuation voltage of 14 V. 2500 MEMS-actuated directional coupler switches have been integrated with the crossbar network to form a strictly nonblocking 50 × 50 OCS on a 9 mm×9 mm chip. The measured switching time is 2.5 μs, and the extinction ratio is 26 dB. To our knowledge, this is the largest silicon photonic switch reported to date. The switch architecture is highly scalable because the light travels through only one active switching element, regardless of the size of the switch. © 2015, Optical Society of America.


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