We compared multiple-quantum-well modulator-based smart pixels and vertical-cavity-surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) based smart pixels in terms of optical switching power, switching speed, and electric-power consumption. Optoelectronic circuits integrating GaAs field-effect transistors are designed for smart pixels of both types under the condition that each pixel has an optical threshold and gain. It is shown that both types perform maximum throughput of ∼3 Tbps/cm2. In regard to design flexibility, the modulator type is advantageous because switching time can be reduced by supplying large electric power, whereas switching time and electric-power consumption are limited to larger than certain values in the VCSEL type. In contrast, in regard to optical implementation, the VCSEL type is advantageous because it does not need an external bias-light source, whereas the modulator type needs bias-light arrays that must be precisely located because the small modulator diameter, <10 μm, is essential to high-speed operation. A bias-light source that increases the total power consumption of the system may offset the advantages of the modulator type.
© 1996 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article