January 20, 2020

Open loop control theory algorithms for high-speed 3D MEMS optical switches

  • Bishop D.
  • Imboden M.
  • Pardo F.
  • Pollock C.

© 2020 Optical Society of America under the terms of the OSA Open Access Publishing Agreement There is a world-wide push to create the next-generation all-optical transmission and switching technologies for exascale data centers. In this paper we focus on the switching fabrics. Many different types of 2D architectures are being explored including MEMS/waveguides and semiconductor optical amplifiers. However, these tend to suffer from high, path-dependent losses and crosstalk issues. The technologies with the best optical properties demonstrated to date in large fabrics (>100 ports) are 3D MEMS beam steering approaches. These have low average insertion losses and, equally important, a narrow loss distribution. However, 3D MEMS fabrics are generally dismissed from serious consideration for this application because of their slow switching speeds (?few milliseconds) and high costs ($100/port). In this paper we show how novel feedforward open loop controls can solve both problems by improving MEMS switching speeds by two orders of magnitude and costs by a factor of three. With these improvements in hand, we believe 3D MEMS fabrics can become the technology of choice for data centers.

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