Optics: Mastering Bandwidth

IME researchers have developed a micromachined injection-locked laser (ILL), which provides tunable discrete wavelengths and improved spectral purity for wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) optical access network. The MEMS platform adopted in the proposed ILL permits high compactness, fast tuning speed, pro-batch fabrication and ready integration into circuits. When compared to conventional lasers made with high quality optical components, the proposed MEMS ILL is significantly smaller by 5 million times and is characterized by improved laser performance: narrower line-width - by 42 %; higher side mode suppression ratio - by 30 dB; higher output power - by 32%; faster tuning speed - by 1000 x. With the merits of small size, low power consumption and low fabrication cost, the MEMS ILL would find potential applications in advanced optical communications e.g. all-optical switching, high speed data communications and reconfigurable optical networks. The MEMS ILL is also promising for use in atomic watches to enable highly precise and accurate time keeping.