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The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is a leading developer of innovations related to integrated-optic communications, especially multimode interference (MMI) devices for use in telecommunications, sensing, and related applications.
ARL was an early developer of MMI devices, which are intended for power splitting and for the separation and combination of wavelengths and polarizations. Input–output guides connect to the MMI region by ports. In all previously reported MMI devices, the input and output guides connect only to the ends of the MMI region, (i.e., they are end-ported). ARL devised a novel arrangement that angles the input–output guides, while also placing the ports either partially or entirely on the sides of the MMI region (i.e., side porting). This achieves a number of benefits, such as more efficient power splitting, reduced signal loss, improved symmetry in signal splitting, and a more compact device form factor.
ARL’s new MMI innovation can be fabricated from available semiconductor materials using techniques standard within the industry. In addition, the ARL device is simpler, eliminating the need for Y-splitters or custom S-bands for each level, which also simplifies fabrication at a commercial volume.
- Superior compactness, robustness, efficiency, operating range, and sensitivity
- Targeting applications that require efficient, accurate handling of optical power, optic wavelengths, electromagnetic polarizations, and phase changing
- Useful in systems and enabling technologies such as power splitting (in place of switching), inertial gyros, interferometers, and optically-steered radar
- Diverse markets such as telecommunications, medical, military, transportation, metrology, and quantum computing
- US Patent 7,734,122 and US Patent 5,852,691 (additional light separation techniques) are available for license and commercialization
- Potential for collaboration with US Army inventor and laboratory