This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop a high performance optical switch. The optical communication is a fastest growing technology in modern communication industry meeting the ever-increase in market demand for bandwidth. Fiberoptic communication is inherently immune to detection/interception and jam, which is particularly important to missile defense missions, such as laser radar and other military communication. Optical switches are the most critical component in optical communication but yet the weakest part to date. Optical switch technology needs a breakthrough with technology that proposes an innovative solution to overcome the current bottleneck and achieve the state-of-the-art optical switch at the lowest cost. Based on the recent breakthrough of electro-optic material an extremely simple but innovative device architecture, the proposed optical switch will outperform any existing solutions and have a great impact to fiber-optic applications as well as commercial communication and optical computing.
The low cost and high performance optical switch will have wide application in defense systems such as laser radar, fiber-optic sensor system, and local area networks. It will also have great application in commercial communication market where optical switches play a critical role. The market potential for such device is huge and is projected to reach $3 billion by year 2006.