Integrated Optoelectronic Switching Technology for Fiber-optic Communications Networks

Period of Performance: 08/01/1997 - 01/31/1998


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Astarte Fiber Networks, Inc.
2555 55th St., Suite 100
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Colorado Boulder
572 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
Institution POC


Astarte Fiber Networks, Inc., the world's leading manufacturer of fiber optics network switching devices, is teaming with the Opto-electronic Computing System Center, an NSF Engineering Research Center at the University of Colorado, to develop the technology for the next generation of optical network switches. Based on passive polymeric waveguides, high-speed semiconductor optical amplifiers, and a modular, scaleable architecture, the technology will provide six orders of magnitude improvement in network reconfiguration time. A performance improvement of this magnitude will move reconfigurable network switches into new application areas that will drive product volumes higher and prices lower. The product cost of the switch is kept low by using self-aligning optoelectronic packaging technology, while switch scalability is achieved by using highly integrated, polymer waveguide structures in conjunction with semiconductor amplifiers. These technologies have been developed largely by Federal funding, and are now poised to enter the commercial marketplace. The main goal of the proposed Phase I effort is to demonstrate the functionality of the optical switching module technology, focusing on a 2X2 test vehicle. A secondary goal is to determine the switching architecture compatible with these new modules. Fiber-optic switching systems based on this technology are expected to provide important benefits over the state-of-the-art. Benefits include: improved switching times, lower insertion loss, the ability to adjust optical throughout to accommodate transmission losses, increased switch size flexibly, and manufacturing efficiencies leading to lower cost products. These benefits are important to a multi-tude of markets and applications that need relatively inexpensive, fully-optical, high-speed switching capabilities for their high band-width, fiber-optic communications networks. Beneficiaries include military/defense installations, government agencies, telecommunica-tions companies, and companies with large data communications networks.