Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bell Labs Develops Silicon-based Tunable Optical Equalizer

Researchers at Bell Labs have demonstrated the first CMOS silicon-based tunable optical waveguide equalizer, a major step in the drive toward high-density, low-cost silicon chip-based optical networking devices.

Alcatel-Lucent said the key to its breakthrough is a new control configuration that uses a single voltage to adjust the signal equalization and an innovative architecture to realize complex responses in a low order filter. The result is a highly adaptable transmitter, which brings a very rich level of control to silicon-based optical networking.

Possible new applications include low-cost, mass deployment of fiber to the home; truly meshed optical networks that cleanly switch optical signals between different transmission formats; and the deployment of optical networking into places unapproachable by today's optical networking devices such as over short-runs or in confined spaces.

The new optical filter builds upon the work by the EPIC (Electronic and Photonic Integrated Circuits) program, funded by DARPA and led by BAE Systems in partnership with MIT, Applied Wave Research, and Bell Labs, through Alcatel-Lucent's LGS subsidiary. The EPIC program produced the first devices that embedded photonic filters, modulators, and detectors with electronics onto the same silicon-based integrated circuit.


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