INTEgrated optical devices for future communications: SANT’ANNA school tecip institute and SHANGhAi JIAO TONG UNIVERSITY work together on CANTON project funded by the ministry of foreign affairs

Researchers at the TECIP (Telecommunications, Information and Perception Technologies) Institute of Sant’Anna School and Professor Giampiero Contestabile are developing a new device based on integrated photonics technology that can send data at a speed of more than 100 gigabits per second. They are working on the project titled CANTON funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Designed and manufactured in Europe, this device could offer “turbo-speed” fiber-optic networks connectivity and optical packet switching based on turbo switches.

Intensive research is being carried out in the field of optical packet switching, which combines the high capacity of optical technology with the flexibility of well- established packet switching. Optical switching enables routing of optical data signals without the need for conversion to electrical signals and, therefore, is independent of data rate and data protocol. The transfer of the switching function from electronics to optics will result in a reduction in the network equipment, an increase in the switching speed, and a decrease in the operating power.

The CANTON project will use semiconductor optical splitters, combiners and other components for the simulations. A lithographic nanoscale process has already been successfully implemented and first measurements show that integrated Turbo-Switch devices can obtain improvement of recovery time, switching speeds and acceptance ratio. Researchers at TECIP Institute presented the design, fabrication and characterization of this novel integrated optical switch to the Oclaro, Inc. Company, a UK leader in optical components, modules, and subsystems for optical transport and data centers.

To provide the optical components required, Oclaro and Jiao Tong University - Shanghai will combine manufacturing and packaging operations. The CANTON research team will provide the opto-electrical integration technologies, which are globally considered the most promising candidate for next-generation large-capacity optical communication systems having light-speed minimum-latency links supporting fiber-optic data rates.

Cover Photo: Giampiero Contestabile at the TECIP Institute