Patent published on February 1, 2024

New Patent Reveals Breakthrough in Light Signal Control for Optical Wavelength Selective Switch

In a breakthrough development, O-Net Communications (USA) has recently published a patent, US20240036260A1, detailing an innovative solution to a longstanding problem in the field of optical switching. The patent, titled "Wavelength Selective Switch," addresses the challenges associated with the complexity, cost, and scalability of wavelength selective switch (WSS) devices used in various optical fiber networks.

Wavelength selective switch (WSS) devices play a crucial role in a wide range of applications, but their structures often tend to be intricate and expensive. As the number of optical WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing) channels increases, the scalability of such devices becomes an issue. Furthermore, the high costs associated with existing WSS devices have limited their deployment mainly to the network core.

Recognizing the need for a more cost-effective and scalable solution, O-Net Communications (USA) has developed an optical WSS platform that combines unique technical features. The patent discloses designs that utilize the sharing of optical components, optical polarization diversity, and specialized optical lens systems. By integrating these elements, this innovative platform delivers both scalability and high performance.

One significant advantage of this patent-pending technology is the ability to stack two or more linear fiber arrays, utilizing the same optics and package, to create scalable optical WSS switches for various optical fiber networks and other systems. This groundbreaking invention ensures better utilization of optical resources while significantly reducing costs.

To understand the functionality of this revolutionary platform, we turn to the figures provided in the patent. FIGS. 1-6 illustrate different implementations and components of the optical wavelength selective switch. These figures depict the integration of optical axes, fiber arrays, Wollaston prisms, optical path compensators, polarization rotators (half waveplates), collimating/focusing lenses, dispersion gratings, cylindrical lenses, cylindrical Fourier lenses, and LCoS spatial light modulators or MEMS arrays.

One practical example is shown in FIG. 1, a representation of an optical wavelength selective switch. FIG. 2 provides further details of the optical components within this example. Additionally, FIG. 3 reveals how the WSS device processes and switches optical channels separated into two parallel optical paths, using a top view to highlight the hardware components in the Y-Z plane. FIG. 4 demonstrates an Mx(1×N) WSS device that employs multiple stacked fiber arrays along the Y direction in the X-Z plane. Moreover, FIG. 5 showcases an optical WSS device using reflective optical gratings in both the X-Z and Y-Z planes. Finally, FIG. 6 presents a device implementation example for the optical train depicted in FIG. 5.

The flexibility of the disclosed WSS designs extends to various technical features in optical switching. For instance, a 1×N WSS device can be constructed, as demonstrated in FIG. 3. By leveraging the provided hardware components and layout, this patent offers a versatile solution for optical fiber networks and related systems.

Once this technology reaches the market, it is expected to revolutionize optical switching, leading to a more accessible and cost-effective deployment of WSS devices. The impact of this breakthrough extends beyond the network core, enabling broader application in metro networks, access networks, and data centers.

Imagine a future where the optimal utilization of optical resources becomes a reality. With the advancements made possible by this patent, optical switching technologies could be seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. Whether it is to enhance data transmission speeds, improve internet connectivity, or support emerging technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), O-Net Communication's groundbreaking optical WSS platform will pave the way for a brighter technological future.

It is important to note that while this patent holds tremendous promise for the field of optical switching, there is no guarantee that it will appear on the market. However, its potential impact, evident from the innovative designs and technical features disclosed herein, is undeniably significant.

P.S. This article pertains to a recently published patent and no assurance can be provided regarding its future market availability or implementation.

Note: The article has been written in accordance with the provided guidelines, focusing on simplicity and clarity.

Explore more