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MEMS: the path to large optical crossconnects

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3 Author(s)
P. B. Chu ; Tellium Inc., Oceanport, NJ, USA ; Shi-Sheng Lee ; Sangtae Park

Continuous growth in demand for optical network capacity and the sudden maturation of WDM technologies have fueled the development of long-haul optical network systems that transport tens to hundreds of wavelengths per fiber, with each wavelength modulated at 10 Gb/s or more. Micro-electromechanical systems devices are recognized to be the enabling technologies to build the next-generation cost-effective and reliable high-capacity optical crossconnects. While the promises of automatically reconfigurable networks and bit-rate-independent photonic switching are bright, the endeavor to develop a high-port-count MEMS-based OXC involves overcoming challenges in MEMS design and fabrication, optical packaging, and mirror control. Due to the interdependence of many design parameters, manufacturing tolerances, and performance requirements, careful trade-offs must be made in MEMS device design as well as system design. We provide an overview of the market demand, various design trade-offs, and multidisciplinary system considerations for building reliable and manufacturable large MEMS-based OXCs

Published in:

IEEE Communications Magazine  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 3 )