We describe a silica-based 16 16 strictly nonblocking thermooptic matrix switch with a low loss and a high extinction ratio. This matrix switch, which employs a double Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) switching unit and a matrix arrangement to reduce the total waveguide length, is fabricated with 0.75% refractive index difference waveguides on a 6-in silicon wafer using silica-based planar lightwave circuit (PLC) technology. We obtained an average insertion loss of 6.6 dB and an average extinction ratio of 53 dB in the worst polarization case. The operating wavelength bandwidth completely covers the gain band of practical erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs). The total power consumption needed for operation is reduced to 17 W by employing a phase-trimming technique which eliminates the phase-error in the interferometer switching unit.
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