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1. US6597481 - Controllable wavelength-selective optical cross-connect

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[ EN ]

What is claimed is:

1. A controllable, wavelength-selectable, optical cross-connect switch including a plurality of input ports for receiving multi-wavelength optical signals and a plurality of output ports for supplying multi-wavelength optical signals as outputs from the optical switch, each multi-wavelength optical signal including a plurality of channels wherein a channel is associated with a particular wavelength, the optical switch further comprising:
an optical router portion coupled to the plurality of input ports for distributing the multi-wavelength optical signals from the input ports;
an optical combiner portion coupled to the plurality of output ports for combining the multi-wavelength optical signals; and
a plurality of optical fibers interconnecting the optical router portion and the optical combiner portion, selected ones of the plurality of optical fibers including wavelength-selective magnetically tunable fiber gratings with two selectable bi-stable states, capable of passing or reflecting any of the plurality of channels so that any of the plurality of channels can be supplied from any of the plurality of input ports to any of the plurality of output ports.
 
2. The optical cross-connect switch according to claim 1, wherein the wavelength-selective elements comprise fiber Bragg gratings the wavelength of which is magnetically alterable.
 
3. The switch of claim 1 wherein the tuning is carried out by using magnetic force interaction of adjacent magnetic poles.
 
4. The switch of claim 1 wherein the wavelength selection is latchable after the actuation and no further power is needed to maintain the selected wavelength.
 
5. The switch of claim 2 wherein the wavelength selection is done by choosing a desired wavelength from a continuous spectrum of wavelength through magnetic actuation with desired magnetic field strength.
 
6. The switch of claim 1 wherein the wavelength selection is done by choosing a desired wavelength from digitally available wavelengths pre-set in the design and assembly of the fiber grating structure.
 
7. The switch of claim 1, wherein the optical router portion includes a plurality of input optical couplers, each input optical coupler associated with a corresponding one of the plurality of input ports, and wherein the optical combiner portion includes a plurality of output optical couplers, each output optical coupler associated with a corresponding one of the plurality of output ports.
 
8. The switch of claim 7, wherein the plurality of input optical couplers and the plurality of output optical couplers comprise star couplers.
 
9. The switch of claim 8, wherein each of the plurality of input optical couplers is a 1×M optical coupler and each of the plurality of output optical couplers is a K×1 optical coupler, where K is an integer corresponding to the number of input ports and M is an integer corresponding to the number of output ports, and wherein each multi-wavelength optical signal comprises N channels, and the multi-wavelength optical signals having N channels are routed between the K input ports and the M output ports in a K×M cross-connect configuration.
 
10. The switch of claim 9, wherein K=M.
 
11. The switch of claim 1, further comprising a controller responsive to command signals for selectively controlling the tunable fiber gratings to reflect or pass any of the plurality of channels.
 
12. The switch of claim 11, wherein the fiber gratings are magnetically tunable fiber gratings and wherein the controller selectively tunes the fiber gratings by applying a magnetic field.
 
13. The switch of claim 11, wherein the controller selectively switches the fiber gratings between a transmissive and a reflective operational state.
 
14. The switch of claim 11, wherein selected ones of the fiber gratings are controlled as a group.
 
15. The switch of claim 11, wherein each of the fiber gratings is individually controllable.
 
16. The switch of claim 1 wherein the optical cross-connect switch is contained in a temperature compensating package so that the switch performance is independent of ambient temperature.
 
17. The switch of claim 16 wherein the non-dependency on ambient temperature is accomplished by providing at least one constant temperature oven which houses the optical cross-connect.
 
18. The switch of claim 16 wherein the non-dependency on ambient temperature is accomplished by providing at least one thermoelectric cooler in the vicinity of the cross-connect.
 
19. The switch of claim 16 wherein the non-dependency on ambient temperature is accomplished by providing a wavelength detection and feedback system, and by actively readjusting the wavelengths of the tunable gratings by magnetic pulse actuation.
 
20. The switch of claim 7, wherein the plurality of input optical couplers and the plurality of output optical couplers each include previously unused ports capable of selectively adding individual channels of particular wavelengths to the multi-wavelength optical signals.
 
21. The switch of claim 7, wherein the plurality of input optical couplers and the plurality of output optical couplers each include previously unused ports capable of selectively dropping individual channels of particular wavelengths from the multi-wavelength optical signals.
 
22. The switch of claim 7, further comprising a rare earth-doped fiber amplifier coupled to each of the plurality of input optical couplers for optically amplifying the multi-wavelength optical signal received by the corresponding one of the plurality of input optical couplers.
 
23. The switch of claim 7, further comprising a plurality of rare earth-doped fiber amplifiers coupled respectively to each of the plurality of output optical couplers for optically amplifying the multi-wavelength optical signal supplied by the corresponding one of the plurality of output optical couplers.
 
24. The switch of claim 7, further comprising a plurality of rare earth-doped fiber amplifiers coupled within selected ones of the plurality of optical fibers having wavelength-selective elements, each of the rare earth-doped fiber amplifiers optically amplifying the multi-wavelength optical signals between the plurality of input optical couplers and the plurality of output optical couplers.
 
25. An optical cross-connect comprising:
at least two input directional optical transfer devices each capable of receiving multi-wavelength optical signals, each multi-wavelength optical signal including a plurality of channels wherein a channel is associated with a particular wavelength;
at least two output directional optical transfer devices each capable of supplying the multi-wavelength optical signals as outputs from the optical cross-connect; and
a plurality of optical fibers interconnecting the at least two input directional optical transfer devices and the at least two output directional optical transfer devices, selected ones of the plurality of optical fibers including at least one magnetically controllable wavelength-selective element with two selectable bi-stable states, capable of passing or reflecting any of the plurality of channels so that any of the plurality of channels can be routed from any of the at least two input directional optical transfer devices to any of the at least two output directional optical transfer devices.
 
26. The cross-connect of claim 25, wherein the wavelength-selective elements comprise magnetically tunable and latchable fiber gratings.
 
27. The cross-connect of claim 25, wherein the at least two input directional optical transfer devices and the at least two output directional optical transfer devices each comprise an optical circulator.
 
28. The cross-connect of claim 25, wherein the at least two input directional optical transfer devices and the at least two output directional optical transfer devices each comprise an optical coupler.
 
29. The cross-connect of claim 26, further comprising a controller responsive to command signals for selectively controlling the magnetically tunable fiber gratings to reflect or pass any of the plurality of channels.
 
30. The cross-connect of claim 29, wherein the fiber gratings are tunable fiber gratings and wherein the controller selectively tunes the fiber gratings by applying a magnetic pulse field.
 
31. The cross-connect of claim 29, wherein the controller selectively switches the fiber gratings between a transmissive and a reflective operational state.
 
32. The cross-connect of claim 29, wherein selected ones of the fiber gratings are controlled as a group in a ganged arrangement.
 
33. The cross-connect of claim 29, wherein each of the fiber gratings is individually controllable.
 
34. The cross-connect of 16 wherein the temperature-dependent wavelength changes in the optical cross-connect switch are less than 0.5 nm/100 deg.C.