Abstract

Free-space photonic switching systems that optically interconnect large arrays of simple processing elements have already been demonstrated [ IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 2, 438, 600 ( 1990); Appl. Opt. 31, 5431 ( 1992); Electron. Lett. 27, 1869 ( 1991)]. In these system experiments, diffractive optical elements served as critical components that provided functionality not easily assumed by conventional optics. In the latest optical switching network, binary phase gratings were used to generate arrays of uniform-intensity beams to illuminate modulators in the processor array. In addition, space-invariant binary phase grating designs were integral in forming the Banyan interconnection network used to link arrays in the system. Here we discuss the function, design, and performance of these diffractive elements.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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