The intensive investment in optical microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in the last decade has led to many successful components that satisfy the requirements of lightwave communication networks. In this paper, we review the current state of the art of MEMS devices and subsystems for lightwave communication applications. Depending on the design, these components can either be broadband (wavelength independent) or wavelength selective. Broadband devices include optical switches, crossconnects, optical attenuators, and data modulators, while wavelength-selective components encompass wavelength add/drop multiplexers, wavelength-selective switches and crossconnects, spectral equalizers, dispersion compensators, spectrometers, and tunable lasers. Integration of MEMS and planar lightwave circuits, microresonators, and photonic crystals could lead to further reduction in size and cost.
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