Optical Switch on a Chip: The Talbot Effect, Lüneburg Lenses & Metamaterials

Title: Optical Switch on a Chip: The Talbot Effect, Lüneburg Lenses & Metamaterials
Authors: Hamdam, Nikkhah
Date: 2013
Abstract: The goal of the research reported in this thesis is to establish the feasibility of a novel optical architecture for an optical route & select circuit switch suitable for implementation as a photonic integrated circuit. The proposed architecture combines Optical Phased Array (OPA) switch elements implemented as multimode interference coupler based Generalised Mach-Zehnder Interferometers (GMZI) with a planar Lüneburg lens-based optical transpose interconnection network implemented using graded metamaterial waveguide slabs. The proposed switch is transparent to signal format and, in principle, can have zero excess insertion loss and scale to large port counts. These switches will enable the low-energy consumption high capacity communications network infrastructure needed to provide environmentally-friendly broadband access to all. The thesis first explains the importance of switch structures in optical communications networks and the difficulties of scaling to a large number of switch ports. The thesis then introduces the Talbot effect, i.e. the self-imaging of periodic field distributions in free space. It elaborates on a new approach to finding the phase relations between pairs of Talbot image planes at carefully selected positions. The free space Talbot effect is mapped to the waveguide Talbot effect which is fundamental to the operation of multimode interference couplers (MMI). Knowledge of the phase relation between the MMI ports is necessary to achieve correct operation of the GMZI OPA switch elements. An outline of the design procedures is given that can be applied to optimise the performance of MMI couplers and, as a consequence, the GMZI OPA switch elements. The Lüneburg Optical Transpose Interconnection System (LOTIS) is introduced as a potential solution to the problem of excessive insertion loss and cross-talk caused by the large number of crossovers in a switch fabric. Finally, the thesis explains how a Lüneburg lens may be implemented in a graded ‘metamaterial’, i.e. a composite material consisting of ‘atoms’ arranged on a regular lattice suspended in a host by nano-structuring of silicon waveguide slabs using a single etch-step. Furthermore, the propagation of light in graded almost-periodic structures is discussed. Detailed consideration is given to the calibration of the local homogenised effective index; in terms of the local parameters of the metamaterial microstructure in the plane and the corrections necessary to accommodate slab waveguide confinement in the normal to the plane. The concept and designs were verified by FDTD simulation. A 4×4 LOTIS structure showed correct routing of light with a low insertion loss of -0.25 dB and crosstalk of -24.12 dB. An -0.45 dB excess loss for 2D analysis and an -0.83 dB insertion excess loss for 3D analysis of two side by side metamaterial Lüneburg lenses with diameter of 15 μm was measured, which suggests that the metamaterial implementation produces minimal additional impairments to the switch.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/24391
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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