Optical switching and signal processing at Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies

The ultimate aim of this programme is to remove ultrafast electronics from communications systems. The inherently high speeds of many all-optical processes may be harnessed to produce new non-electrical components and techniques for very fast signal manipulation and processing. We have a team working on the modelling, design and demonstration of systems and sub-systems for application in all-optical networks. Our approach is to accept the digital nature of the signal from the outset and to look for ways of manipulating channels at the bit level rather than switching in an analogue fashion as in optical cross connects. This has the advantage of eliminating impairments due to analogue mixing processes and of building in regeneration as a fundamental operation rather than a system add-on. Devices for switching, data header recognition, multiplexing, and memories are pursued using fibre and semiconductor devices.

We are also looking at the potential for these ultrafast all-optical techniques to allow us to develop better instrumentation using techniques such as temporal microscopy which allows us to expand in time short pulses.

Hosted by: Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies.

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