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Ultrafast technologies for photonic networks

Prucnal, Paul R. and Baby, Varghese and Xu, Lei and Glesk, Ivan (2004) Ultrafast technologies for photonic networks. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, 5595. pp. 244-248. ISSN 1996-756X

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Abstract

Considerable progress has been in the last decade in the fields of photonic networks and ultra-fast optics. The past few years has seen the widespread use of wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) to provide enormous point-to-point capacity in the backbone and metro area networks. Remarkable progress in electronics, in terms of both costs and performance speeds, has to some extent alleviated the 'electronic bottleneck'. Developments in fiber-optics such as novel fiber types and Raman amplification have opened up additional wavelength regions of operation resulting in great expansion of usable fiber bandwidth. There exist unique opportunities for ultrafast technologies - a subject of much interest in the last decade and reaching a point of maturity - to complement these advances and spark the next generation networks. In our talk, we will mention two networking environments very different from WDM - (1) optical time division multiplexing (OTDM) and (2) optical code division multiple access (OCDMA). We will look at the potential of both these scenarios for different applications, focusing in particular on the latter as an approach that provides maximum flexibility to utilize the immense bandwidth of the optical fiber. We will also describe various ultra-fast technologies that have been developed e.g. .high repetition rate pulsed lasers, ultra-fast optical switches, time delay elements etc. which have a direct relevance to both these types of networks.