, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 311-318

Reconfigurable optical multiplexer based on liquid crystals for polymer optical fiber networks

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In this work, different novel 3×1 multiplexer structures for being used in polymer optical fiber networks are proposed. Designs are compact, scalable, and of low consumption, capable of operating in a large wavelength range simultaneously 660, 850, and 1300 nm, due to the use of nematic liquid crystal cells. Light that comes from each input port is handled independently and eight operation modes are possible.

Control electronics has been made using a programmable integrated circuit. Electronic system makes available the managing of the optical stage using a computer. An additional four optical sensors have been included for allowing the optical status checking.

Finally, a polarization independent multiplexer has been implemented and tested. Insertion losses less than 4 dB and isolation better than 23 dB have been measured. In addition, 30-ms and 15-ms setup and rise times have been obtained. The proposed multiplexer can be used in any polymer optical fiber network, even in perfluorinated graded index one, and it can be specially useful in optical sensor networks, or in coarse wavelength division multiplexing networks.