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Fast 10-/spl mu/s microelectromechanical optical switch inside a planar hollow waveguide (PHW)

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3 Author(s)
Guerre, R. ; Microsyst. Lab., Ecole Polytech. Fed. de Lausanne ; Fahrni, F. ; Renaud, P.

A new concept for a 1 times 2 micromechanical optical switch with 10 mus of switching speed, 29 dB of ON/OFF ratio, and insertion loss of -7.22 dB for lambda=1550 nm and -4.96 dB for lambda=635 nm is presented. The idea is to insert a micromechanical switching mechanism composed of a vertical silicon cantilever beam inside a hollow planar optical waveguide structured in a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer. The switching beam in the Y hollow waveguide is electrostatically actuated, which makes it deflect to one side or the other in order to redirect light in one of the two outputs. Switching times of less than 10 mus were measured with the produced devices. Compared to classical microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches, the concept presents the advantage to decrease the risks of misalignment between the mirror and the optical waveguide, as the two elements are defined in the same process step, and as the mirror position is less critical than for classical MEMS switches. It also limits the optical losses due to beam spreading that occurs in free-space configuration. Three different optical surfaces for the hollow waveguides were studied-a gold coating, an antiresonant reflecting optical waveguide (ARROW) optical coating, and bare hollow silicon

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Lightwave Technology, Journal of  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 3 )