Acousto-optic photonic switch

D.O. Harris and A. VanderLugt

In recent years, there has been interest in developing photonic switches. A promising class of space-division architectures is based on dynamic beam steering, where input light is deflected to one of several output ports. Such an architecture uses the three-dimensional processing capability of optics, allowing nonblocking NxN switches to be constructed with only N deflectors. In addition to the low hardware complexity, low losses are possible even for large switches because light must encounter only one deflector, regardless of the number of output ports. Optical crosstalk is due to diffractive spreading of output beams in this type of switch and, typically, only nearest neighbor contributions are significant; therefore, crosstalk can also be limited to low levels when N is large.

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