OTDM network processing using all-optical and electro-optical devices
The current optical communications network consists of point-to-point optical transmission paths interconnected with relatively low-speed electronic switching and routing devices. As the demand for capacity increases, then higher speed electronic devices will become necessary. It is however hard to realise electronic chip-sets above 10 Gbit/s, and therefore to increase the achievable performance of the network, electro-optic and all-optic switching and routing architectures are being investigated. This thesis aims to provide a detailed experimental analysis of high-speed optical processing within an optical time division multiplexed (OTDM) network node. This includes the functions of demultiplexing, 'drop and insert' multiplexing, data regeneration, and clock recovery. It examines the possibilities of combining these tasks using a single device. Two optical switching technologies are explored. The first is an all-optical device known as 'semiconductor optical amplifier-based nonlinear optical loop mirror' (SOA-NOLM). Switching is achieved by using an intense 'control' pulse to induce a phase shift in a low-intensity signal propagating through an interferometer. Simultaneous demultiplexing, data regeneration and clock recovery are demonstrated for the first time using a single SOA-NOLM. The second device is an electroabsorption (EA) modulator, which until this thesis had been used in a uni-directional configuration to achieve picosecond pulse generation, data encoding, demultiplexing, and 'drop and insert' multiplexing. This thesis presents results on the use of an EA modulator in a novel bi-directional configuration. Two independent channels are demultiplexed from a high-speed OTDM data stream using a single device. Simultaneous demultiplexing with stable, ultra-low jitter clock recovery is demonstrated, and then used in a self-contained 40 Gbit/s 'drop and insert' node. Finally, a 10 GHz source is analysed that exploits the EA modulator bi-directionality to increase the pulse extinction ratio to a level where it could be used in an 80 Gbit/s OTDM network.