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(1) Patented Proprietary Tunable Laser Technology

Widely wavelength tunable semiconductor lasers are key components for next-generation optical networks. Conventional tunable lasers require complex fabrication processes such as non-uniform gratings and multiple epitaxial growths, and need multiple electrodes with complex control algorithms for wavelength tuning. As the dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology extends towards access and data center networks, the cost reduction and operational simplicity become more and more important.

Lightip has developed a simple and compact tunable laser based on patented proprietary technologies. It consists of a half-wave coupled V-cavity laser (VCL) with only three electrodes: one for gain and direct modulation, one for channel selection corresponding to the ITU grid, and the third for fine tuning when needed. The laser structure does not involve any grating or epitaxial regrowth, and has a size of only about 400um x 300um. Monolithic integration of high speed modulators has also been implemented. The advantages of compactness, fabrication simplicity and easy wavelength control offer cost-effective tunable laser solutions for many applications in metro/access and data center networks, lidar, sensing, and beyond.

Half-wave coupled V-cavity tunable laser chip (0.4mmx0.3mm)
Example emission spectra of V-cavity tunable lasers (50 channels with 100GHz spacing and full C-band 93 channels with 50GHz spacing)

Example emission spectra of AlGaAs/GaAs based 870nm V-cavity tunable lasers


(2) Proprietary Low-Loss Cyclic Arrayed Waveguide Grating Routers

Arrayed Waveguide Grating Router (AWGR) is another key component for next-generation Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) optical networks. Based on high-performance planar lightwave circuit (PLC), it extends the conventional 1xN AWG multiplexer/demultiplexer to NxN cyclic wvelength router. It can provide rich connectivity among many network nodes, serving as multi-directional MUX/DEMUX, Point-to-Multipoints (P2MP) DWDM interconnects, etc. In combination with tunable lasers/transceivers, it can realize optical switching and reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexing (ROADM) for long-haul, metro, and datacenter networks.


Measured spectra of 16x16 Cyclic AWGR's

Measured spectra of 32x32 Cyclic AWGR's


(3) Distributed Optical Switching Technology

Optical switching is the key technology for optical networks, datacenter interconnects and high-performance computer (HPC) systems. The current optical switching systems are mainly based on electronic switching ICs with optical-electrical-optical conversions, or expensive and bulky wavelength selective switches (WSS). Lightip has developed a simplified optical switching technology based on a novel distributed wavelength routing architecture. It enables the wavelength routing functionality at transmitting/receiving nodes, eliminating the centralized optical switching node requiring high-capacity electronic switching ICs or optical cross-connect (OXC). It allows large-bandwidth multi-wavelength link between any two nodes with individually fast-switchable wavelengths. It also reduces optical-electrical-optical conversions, thus reducing the number of transceiver modules, power consumption, and latency in the transmission links. By seamlessly combining the high-capacity optical switching (Light) and low-granularity electronic packet switching (IP) under a unified control, the distributed LightIP hybrid switching architecture enables an intelligent adaptive IP-over-WDM network with high degree of flexibility, protection, and unlimited scalability.

Distributed LightIP switching node

Five-nodes demo system

Wavelength switching time: ~200us 



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