The design and performance of several generations of wavelength-selective 1 x K switches are reviewed. These optical subsystems combine the functionality of a demultiplexer, per-wavelength switch, and multiplexer in a single, low-loss unit. Free-space optics is utilized for spatially separating the constituent wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) channels as well as for space-division switching from an input optical fiber to one of K output fibers (1 x K functionality) on a channel-by-channel basis using a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) micromirror array. The switches are designed to provide wide and flat passbands for minimal signal distortion. They can also provide spectral equalization and channel blocking functionality, making them well suited for use in transparent WDM optical mesh networks.
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