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Novel optical time-division multiplexer for 40 Gbit/s transmission rate

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Zurich, Switzerland, March 2002—IBM Research - Zurich announced the development of a miniature, low-loss optical 10 to 40 Gbit/s time-division multiplexer based on its novel planar optical waveguide technology at the 2002 Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) held in Anaheim, California/USA, March 19 - 21.

Generating high-frequency 40 Gbit/s pulses for optical communication is one of the greatest challenges facing next-generation optical communication system development. IBM Research - Zurich has developed a miniature 10 to 40 Gbit/s time-division multiplexer which quadruples the pulse rate of a 10 Gbit/s pulsed laser source based on its proprietary SiON technology. The novel device proves the viability of generating 40 Gbit/s optical pulses based on a high-quality pulsed laser source and a low-loss planar waveguide multiplexer. The device will be shown at the booth of GigaTera Inc. (#1991), which produces pulsed lasers and which intends to market the 40GMicroMux for network applications.

High refractive-index contrast planar optical waveguide technology

These novel time-multiplexing devices are based on IBM Zurich's planar optical waveguide technology. Using standard chip-manufacturing equipment, Zurich scientists have developed waveguides made of silicon oxynitride (SiON) between two layers of silicon dioxide (SiO2). The two materials show a high contrast of the refractive index, i.e. a lightwave is strongly confined to the SiON core waveguide. This high contrast facilitates low-loss bending radii as small as 0.55 mm, which is more than one order of magnitude smaller than competing technology based on waveguides having the same diameter as the fiber. The narrow curvatures allow the compact design of components consisting of many bent structures required for enhanced optical functions such as wavelength (de)multiplexers (phased array waveguide gratings) and filters based on so-called resonant couplers.

In addition, IBM Research - Zurich demonstrates dynamic gain equalizer and tunable chromatic dispersion compensator devices based on the SiON technology at the OFC booth of "The Zurich Network" (booth #943), an organization for the promotion of Switzerland as the location of choice for a large variety of businesses.

About GigaTera

GigaTera Inc. is developing components for next-generation optical networks. The company is based near Zurich, Switzerland, and has raised US$ 9 million in venture capital to date.

Press contact

Nicole Strachowski
Media Relations
IBM Research - Zurich
Tel +41 44 724 84 45

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