Integrated Optics Devices for Optical Communications
The field of integrated optics covers the exploration of guided- wave techniques for the construction of new or improved optical device Dielectric waveguides, usually in the form of a planar film or strip of higher refractive index than the substrate, are used to confine the light to very small cross sections over relatively long lengths. The goal is to accomplish compact and miniaturized devices of improved efficiency and reliability, better mechanical and thermal stability, and lower drive voltage and power consumption. In addition, one hopes that several guided-wave devices can be combined and connected on a common substrate to form more complicated optical circuits in analogy with electronic integrated circuits. The branch of integrated optics which is trying to serve optical fiber telecommunications has been in the research laboratory for more than a decade. It has witnessed the acceptance of a first generation of lightwave technology near 0.8 micrometer wavelengths, and the emergence of a second generation technology near 1.3 micrometers. Both of these technologies use multi-mode fibers, yet integrated optics is essentially a single-mode technology, even though there have been several efforts to make contributions to multimode systems. Thus, integrated optics had to wait in the research laboratory.
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