Optical routing in wavelength-division-multiplexing communication systems requires a wavelength insensitive photonic switch fabric. InP-based digital optical switches are attractive wavelength-insensitive space switches [1,2,3] which can be integrated in 4×4 and larger switch arrays [4]. Quantum well electro-optic digital optical switches have the further advantage of low power consumption and high-speed capability, due to their reverse-bias operation. In this paper we present the first demonstration of a quantum well Y-branch digital optical switch with low propagation loss of 0.2 dB/mm, -20 dB low crosstalk, and a compact size of only 2 mm. This switch is based on a MOCVD-grown InGaAsP/InP quantum-well p-i-n structure, which is compatible with monolithically integrated optical amplifiers, lasers and photodetectors. Due to this standard technology platform, and due to the low crosstalk, low on chip loss, and compact size, our switch is highly suitable for integration in a larger cross-connect type switch matrix, as well as in other photonic switching OEICs.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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