Patent Number: 6,166,838

Title: Optical add/drop wavelength switch

Abstract: An optical add/drop wavelength switch is controllably changed from a bridge state, in which output is identical to input, e.g. a Wavelength Division Multiplexed (WDM) input, and an add/drop state, In which a signal input to an add port is substituted for a particular wavelength subrange of the WDM input, other wavelengths of the WDM input being unchanged. In one embodiment, the wavelength subrange of the WDM signal is given a polarization different from other wavelengths of the WDM, such as by using a stacked waveplate or other optical filter or polarization discriminator. The differently-polarized wavelengths can the be spatially separated, e.g. by a birefringent element or a polarization beam splitter, preferably In a bit-controlled fashion, such as by using a liquid crystal or other polarization controller. Polarization controllers and discriminators can be used similarly to selectably align or combine the add signal with the portion of the WDM signal outside the subrange. The add/drop wavelength switch can be used, e.g. In an optical token ring network and/or to make-up an optical crossbar for exchanging any arbitrarily designatable channels, e.g. among a plurality of multi-channel optical fibers.

Inventors: Liu; Jian-Yu (Boulder, CO), Wu; Kuang-Yi (Boulder, CO)

Assignee: Chorum Technologies, Inc.

International Classification: G02B 6/34 (20060101); H04J 14/02 (20060101); H04Q 11/00 (20060101); H04J 014/06 ()

Expiration Date: 12/26/2017