We demonstrate a novel bistable optical waveguide switch, which may be suitable for incorporation in large-dimension optical cross connects. The switching is based on the electrolytic creation and catalytic destruction of bubbles and is both wavelength and polarization independent. Calculations indicate that low losses and cross talk, which are crucial for large switching arrays, can be achieved with the combination of materials used in the prototype. The intrinsic bistability of the switch eliminates the need for a holding voltage and permits matrix addressing.
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