Perfecting the art of fiber collimation with microlens arrays
MLAs for optical switches in telecommunications and data-center networks
Precision collimator arrays for optical switching architectures are increasingly common, for example in telecommunications and hyperscale data-center networks. In long-haul and metro networks, “all-optical” switching and routing functions offer considerable advantages. Compared with optical-electrical-optical (OEO) switching, they enable significantly higher Internet bandwidths and shorter latency times.
One example is the wavelength-sensitive switch, which handles the multiplexing, switching and re-multiplexing in third-generation reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexing (ROADM) systems. The basic building blocks of these switches are usually one-dimensional micro-lens arrays that couple the light signals into the output fiber arrays.
Helping developers to test this technology in their own optical systems under practical conditions, Ingeneric has developed a one-dimensional (1D, 1×16) microlens array, available on request.
Dr Stefan Hambücker, managing director of Ingeneric, explains why he is making the demonstrator available to a wide range of users: “While we develop many of our projects closely with customers – with the corresponding confidentiality clauses in place – we are for the first time introducing the MLA demonstrator, a microlens array that developers can very easily integrate into their optical systems. It is easy to order from our website with just a few clicks.”
The company’s achievements and the characteristics of the Ingeneric MLAs are described in a free-to-read technical article in PhotonicsViews issue 1/2022:
Chhavi Jain (Ingeneric): High accuracy precision microlens arrays – Precision glass molding offers maximum manufacturing reproducibility and design accuracy, PhotonicsViews 19(1), February/March 2022, pp. 54–56; DOI: 10.1002/phvs.202200005
Further reading: Stefan Hambücker (Ingeneric): Monolithic Micro-Optics for Single Mode Diode Bars – Collimation Module with ultra fine structures opens up new markets for diode laser manufacturers, Optik Photonik 13(2), April 2018; DOI: 10.1002/opph.201800017
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