Intense Photonics has been awarded a £450,000 (US$630,000) SpurPlus grant to develop an optoelectronic packet switch -- a key component of future all-optical communications networks.
The device is expected to set a new standard in optical component technology by integrating all of the components required for the dynamic routing of information packets on one monolithic chip. This will provide advanced switching speed - providing the foundation for new generation of optical network peripherals that can deliver extremely high bandwidth as organizations require, and provide a powerful tool to help operators manage networks.
SpurPlus is a grant run by the Scottish Executive to help small and medium-sized businesses develop products and processes for markets that demand particularly expensive technology.
The project will use Intense Photonics' quantum well intermixing (QWI) technology, which has a proven capability to integrate optical functions. The challenge in this instance is to integrate a very large number of elements. These include passive sections such as long interconnecting waveguide sections for signal routing, and signal splitters and recombiners to multiplex and de-multiplex signals on chip. Active elements needed include lasers, amplifiers, modulators and signal detectors. The resulting component is likely to be one of the most highly integrated optical components ever made - demonstrating the potential that monolithic integration technology offers for realizing quantum leap advances in optical communications bandwidth.
The project starts immediately and is expected to last around 18 months.
About Intense Photonics:
For more information, visit www.intensephotonics.com. Details of SpurPlus may be found at www.scotland.gov.uk/who/elld/rnd_SPUR_1.asp.