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A new approach for optical packet header processing based on a time-to-wavelength converter is proposed. The processing is composed of transferring, through an all-optical and-gate, the header data bits into the successive single optical pulses at different wavelengths. The and-gate is performed by the semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) and makes use of either cross-polarization modulation or four-wave mixing (FWM). Both implementations are compared. In order to improve the scalability of the design and to overcome the polarization sensitivity of the FWM solution, we propose the use of a spectrum-sliced incoherent light in generating the wavelength bits. The FWM process in this specific case is studied. The 10-Gb/s demonstrations of the various elements are presented.