Metal shines in optical switch

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Valerie C. Coffey

Researchers with the Electronics Materials Laboratory at Xerox`s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) have developed a new type of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) they say is especially suited for optical switching applications. The MEMS-based optical switch is fabricated using stressed metals in a low mask-count process rather than silicon. The researchers say the switch is far less challenging to fabricate.

The optical switch promises to be less expensive to manufacture than other comparable offerings, as well as more scalable, with a range of 256 to 10,000 crossconnect fiber ports. Other design benefits include low power consumption and wider scan angles than those typically offered with silicon-based MEMS technology. For more information, contact Eric Peeters at peeters@parc.xerox.com.

Metal film forms the basis of a 1000-plus port count, MEMS-based optical switch.

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