Abstract

We propose a mode switch that operates on modulating the optical phases of a three-dimensional balanced four-arm waveguide Mach–Zehnder interferometer. We design and fabricate the device with polymer material to achieve thermo-optic switching between any two of the E11, E21, E12, and E22 modes of the waveguide. Our experimental device shows an extinction ratio higher than 14 dB and a switching time shorter than 3.7 ms, measured with the E11 mode switched to any of the other modes at 1550 nm. This mode switch can operate over a wide range of wavelengths with weak polarization dependence and could be used in reconfigurable fiber-based mode-division-multiplexing systems where mode routing is required.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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