We propose a novel structure that reduces the switching power of a silica-based thermooptic switch (TOSW). The structure consists of silicon trenches and heat insulating grooves, which are formed beneath and beside the arms of a Mach-Zehnder interferometer, respectively. We optimize the structure using the differential-element method (DEM) and fabricate a 2 × 2 TOSW with a switching power of only 90 mW, namely, 75% less than that of a conventional TOSW. We also obtain an insertion loss of about 1 dB and an extinction ratio of over 30 dB with a response time from 0% to 90% of 4.9 ms. We then use the structure to fabricate an 8 × 8 matrix switch and confirm a total power consumption of 1.4 W with an average insertion loss of 7.4 dB and an extinction ratio of 50.4 dB for 64 possible optical paths.


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  1. T. Goh, A. Himeno, M. Okuno, H. Takahashi and K. Hattori, "High-extinction ratio and low-loss silica-based 8 ×8 strictly nonblocking thermooptic matrix switch", J. Lightwave Technol., vol. 17, pp. 1192-1199, Jul. 1999.

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