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Demonstration of optically controlled data routing with the use of multiple-quantum-well bistable and electro-optical devices

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Abstract

We present experimental results on a 1-to-64-channel free-space photonic switching demonstration system based on GaAs/GaAlAs multiple-quantum-well active device arrays. Two control schemes are demonstrated: data transparent optical self-routing usable in a packet-switching environment and direct optical control with potential signal amplification for circuit switching. The self-routing operation relies on the optical recognition of the binary destination address coded in each packet header. Address decoding is implemented with elementary optical bistable devices and modulator pixels as all-optical latches and electro-opticaland gates, respectively. All 60 defect-free channels of the system could be operated one by one, but the simultaneous operation of only three channels could be achieved mainly because of the spatial nonhomogeneities of the devices. Direct-control operation is based on directly setting the bistable device reflectivity with a variable-control beam power. This working mode turned out to be much more tolerant of spatial noises: 37 channels of the system could be operated simultaneously. Further development of the system to a crossbar of N inputs and M outputs and system miniaturization are also considered.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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