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UK group readies tuned optical amp for 40Gb networks

Posted: 09 Feb 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:center for integrated photonics? cip? optical amplifier? amplifier?

The United Kingdom's Center for Integrated Photonics (CIP) has begun sampling a semiconductor optical amplifier that offers optimized nonlinear operating characteristics and is targeted at optical networks operating at 40Gbps.

The device is capable of wavelength conversion and other features such as large-spot interfaces with ultralow reflectivity that allow it to be passively aligned when building integrated optical subsystems.

CIP has a long pedigree in optoelectronics, having previously been part of Corning. Before that, it was British Telecom's Photonic Technology Research Center.

The amplifier is optimized for wavelength division multiplexing applications, and has already been used successfully for wavelength conversion and 2R (reamplifying and reshaping) signal regeneration at 40Gbps.

The 1,550nm indium phosphide, multiple quantum well amplifier has a saturated gain recovery time of less than 25ps and a polarization-dependent saturated gain of less than 0.5dB. The device also offers a high gain figure of over 30dB for small signal inputs.

The device can be controlled to exploit four-wave mixing, cross-gain modulation or cross-phase modulation effects to implement all-optical wavelength conversionproviding a dynamic mesh connectivity capability to enhance the flexibility of point-to-point optical networks. The phase change characteristics of the nonlinear amplifierand its high gainalso help in regenerating optical signals.

Neil Weston, CIP's VP of sales and marketing, said that since the center has its own semiconductor fabrication plant, it can create variants of the amplifier with application-specific characteristics such as custom device lengths, additional active optical processing functions or as an integrated array of devices.

"CIP is able to optimize the performance characteristics of the device, or add extra functions - either by monolithic or hybrid integration techniques," Weston said.

CIP already makes a hybrid variant of the device with a Mach-Zehnder interferometer.

The device is supplied in a butterfly package for use with an external temperature controller.

- John Walko

EE Times

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