Hunsperger, Robert G. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware.
Last reviewed:August 2020
- Guided waves
- Materials and fabrication
- Coupling of external light beams
- Lasers and distributed feedback
- Switches and modulators
- Spectrum analyzer
- Wavelength division multiplexing
- Photonic crystals
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The study of optical devices that are based on light transmission in planar waveguides, that is, dielectric structures that confine the propagating light to a region with one or two very small dimensions, on the order of the optical wavelength. The principal motivation for these studies is to combine miniaturized individual devices through waveguides or other means into a functional optical system incorporated into a small substrate. The resulting system is called an integrated optical circuit (IOC) by analogy with the semiconductor type of integrated circuit. Alternative names for an IOC include optoelectronic integrated circuit (OEIC), optical integrated circuit (OIC), and photonic integrated circuit (PIC). An integrated optical circuit could include lasers, integrated lenses, switches, interferometers, polarizers, modulators, detectors, and so forth. Important uses envisioned for integrated optical circuits include signal processing (for example, spectrum analysis and analog-to-digital conversion) and optical communications through glass or plastic fibers, which are themselves circular (or elliptical) waveguides. Integrated optical circuits could be used in such systems as optical transmitters, switches, repeaters, and receivers. See also: Integrated circuits; Optical communications; Optical fibers; Signal processing
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