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State of the Art and Perspectives on Silicon Photonic Switches

School of Mechanical Engineering and Electronic Information, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2019, 10(1), 51;
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 13 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section D:Materials and Processing)
PDF [3305 KB, uploaded 13 January 2019]


In the last decade, silicon photonic switches are increasingly believed to be potential candidates for replacing the electrical switches in the applications of telecommunication networks, data center and high-throughput computing, due to their low power consumption (Picojoules per bit), large bandwidth (Terabits per second) and high-level integration (Square millimeters per port). This review paper focuses on the state of the art and our perspectives on silicon photonic switching technologies. It starts with a review of three types of fundamental switch engines, i.e., Mach-Zehnder interferometer, micro-ring resonator and micro-electro-mechanical-system actuated waveguide coupler. The working mechanisms are introduced and the key specifications such as insertion loss, crosstalk, switching time, footprint and power consumption are evaluated. Then it is followed by the discussion on the prototype of large-scale silicon photonic fabrics, which are based on the configuration of above-mentioned switch engines. In addition, the key technologies, such as topological architecture, passive components and optoelectronic packaging, to improve the overall performance are summarized. Finally, the critical challenges that might hamper the silicon photonic switching technologies transferring from proof-of-concept in lab to commercialization are also discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: silicon photonics; waveguide; switch; integrated optics; MEMS; integration; actuator silicon photonics; waveguide; switch; integrated optics; MEMS; integration; actuator

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Tu, X.; Song, C.; Huang, T.; Chen, Z.; Fu, H. State of the Art and Perspectives on Silicon Photonic Switches. Micromachines 2019, 10, 51.

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