|Silicon Photonic Devices for Programmable Linear Circuitry
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|European Conference on Optical Communication
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The past few years we have witnessed several demonstrations of programmable photonic circuits. These circuits consist of electrically controlled tunable couplers and phase shifters organized in large interferometric waveguide circuits. Tuning the coupling and phase makes it possible to redefine the flow of light through the circuit and therefore the coupling between the different waveguide ports. There are different configurations for such circuits, usually classified as "forward-only" and "recirculating". The former performs a straightforward linear scattering of the light in an array of input waveguides into an array of output waveguides. This is a useful function, especially for use in linear optical quantum computing as well as matrix-vector multiplications for neuromorphic computing. The recirculating meshes are more versatile, allowing omnidirectional flow through the circuit, but their usefulness still needs to be demonstrated.
We will discuss the underlying technologies of these linear waveguide meshes, starting from the basic silicon photonic building blocks. Especially the electro-optic phase shifters and tunable couplers that make up the bulk of the circuit are critical, and we will compile a "wish list" of what the future of this technology will need.
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