Free Space All-optical Crossconnect

M. Feldman, A. El-Amawy, and R. Vaidyanathan (USA)


Optical switching, optical crossbar, crossconnect, interconnects.


All-optical crossconnects are essential for implement ing future all-optical networks. This paper describes a novel, low loss crossconnect which is practical and scalable. The crossconnect operates in free space, imaging several light sources onto corresponding receivers. The light from each source is deflected by a series of polarization sensitive prisms, such as Wollaston prisms, each of which deflects the light in one of two directions. Each prism in the series deflects the light by about twice the angle as the previous prism. By con trolling the direction of polarization of the light as it enters each prism any desired angular deflection may be obtained. A lens system then directs the light from each source towards its desired receiver. A second deflection unit removes the angular deflection of the light so that it is incident normally on the receivers, as required for propagation in single mode optical fibers. Various arrangements are described to minimize the number of optical components and to provide uninterrupted high-speed data flow with a single high-speed polarization control device.

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