• A Hybrid Conference – In-Person and Virtual Presentations
  • Technical Conference:  24 – 28 March 2024
  • Exhibition: 26 – 28 March 2024
  • San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA

Short Courses

SC473 - Photonic Switching Systems

Monday, 25 March
08:30 - 12:30 (Pacific Time (US & Canada), UTC - 08:00)

Short Course Level: Advanced Beginner


David Neilson, Nokia Bell Labs, USA
Benjamin Lee, NVIDIA, USA

Short Course Description:

This course consists of two parts focusing respectively on free-space switching systems with near-term commercial impact and on chip-scale photonic switching systems with potential for future commercial impact.

The first part will provide an overview of photonic cross connects (PXC) and wavelength selective switches (WSS), how they work and what the design trade offs are. The requirements and performance for theses switching subsystem will be reviewed. The course will explain the fundamental optical schemes for these switches and how those can be translated into practical optical designs. An overview of the basic requirements and capabilities of the switching technologies MEMS, LCOS and others used in these systems will be given.   Recent results and alternative approaches form the research community will be discussed.

The second part will summarize high-index contrast photonic switching devices and chip-scale photonic switching systems. The course will address material platform selection, device design, component architecture, system topology, and packaging, each in the context of scaling in port count and aggregate bandwidth. State-of-the-art performance, as well as current limitations and efforts to overcome them, will be reviewed for various technologies including photonic MEMS, Mach Zehnder interferometers, ring resonators, semiconductor-optical amplifiers, and electro-optic and thermo-optic phase shifters.

Short Course Benefits:

  • Identify key capablities and performance metrics of optical switching systems.

  • List the basic design constraints of free space optical and integrated photonic switches.

  • Identify and understand the various component technologies that are used to construct these switches.

  • Diagram various architectures used to realize switching systems comprised of these components.

  • Get an insight into future trends in research and product commercialization of optical switching systems.

Short Course Audience:

This advanced-beginner course is intended for a diverse audience including lightwave system and sub system researchers and engineers. Some basic knowledge of classical free-space and guided-wave optics such as lenses, gratings and polarization optics as well as waveguide-based couplers and phase shifters will help in better understanding the course but is not a prerequisite. Past attendees of the course will find substantial updates and new information, and they are encouraged to attend again.

Instructor Biography:

David T. Neilson received his B.Sc. And PhD degrees in Physics from Heriot-Watt University U.K. in 1990 and 1993 respectively. His doctoral thesis was on ‘Optical Nonlinearities and Switching in InGaAs Quantum Wells’. From 1993 to 1996 he remained at Heriot-Watt as a post-doctoral researcher working on free-space optical interconnect and switching systems. From 1996 to 1998 he was a Visiting Scientist at NEC Research, Princeton NJ, researching optical interconnects for high performance computing systems. He joined Bell-Labs in 1998 where he has researched several optical switching systems and technologies including using micro-mechanical elements and LCoS for wavelength selective switches and optical crossconnect. He has also led groups working on InP optoelectronic growth and fabrication.  He has authored over 100 publications and over 20 patents on both devices and systems in the field of optical interconnects and switching. He has been on several IEEE-LEOS, OSA, and SPIE conference programs in the field of optical interconnects and switching.  He is a Fellow of IEEE.

Benjamin G. Lee is a Senior Research Scientist at NVIDIA Research working in the Circuits Research Group.  He received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University in 2009 where he worked on early silicon photonic switch demonstrations. From 2009 to 2021 he was a Research Staff Member at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center where he led multiple projects focusing on photonic integrated transceivers and switches. He has performed forward-looking research on integrated photonic switching devices and systems for more than 15 years and has published over 100 papers on the topic. He also taught relevant courses as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, Department of Electrical Engineering, including "Optical Interconnects & Interconnection Networks".