A prototype multichannel optical switch with a speed of 1 ms promises to provide the fast optical cross-connect required for the development of all-optical communication networks.
With package dimensions of only 150 x 400 x 300 mm, a prototype 80-channel optical communications switch from telecommunications manufacturer Fujitsu (Tokyo, Japan) has a switching speed of 1 ms�the fastest of any multichannel switch available. By eliminating the need to convert light into electricity during the switching process, the 3-D optical MEMS device is expected to enable the development of the optical cross-connect systems essential for next-generation optical transmission networks.
The device uses a folded-optical-switch configuration in which the input beam is reflected though an angled retro-reflector that halves the optical path and reduces device size. Using a comb-shaped electrode structure to drive the MEMS mirrors results in greater driving power than with a planar structure.
The device is currently being evaluated for the best manner to bring the technology to market. A variety of platforms within the company's product line are expected to contain the device.
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