Abstract

A digitally controlled multiwavelength variable fiber-optic attenuator using a two-dimensional digital micromirror device (DMD) is introduced. The results from an experimental four-wavelength (i.e., 1546.92, 1548.52, 1550.12, and 1551.72  nm) proof-of-concept attenuator indicate a 26-dB dynamic range and 11-bit resolution. The measured attenuator average coherent optical cross talk per wavelength channel is -38 dB, limited by the additive noise resulting from the nonideal isolation of the optical circulator and the attenuator module. The average optical loss for our experimental attenuator is 15  dB and is limited mainly by the visible-mode DMD that is used as a 1550-nm infrared window device. Our theoretical estimate of a <8dB loss optimized attenuator can be used for equalization in multiwavelength fiber-optic communications with as many as 108 wavelengths.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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