The Elusive Trifecta for the Perfect iTLA

iTLA Integrated Comb Laser Assembly Trifecta Pilot Photonics
iTLA Trifecta by Pilot Photonics

Pilot Photonics has written an article for the December 2023 (Volume 29, Issue XII) edition of Compound Semiconductor. In it, we explain our integrated tunable laser assembly (iTLA) possessing wide tunability, fast switching and narrow linewidth: The Elusive Trifeca.

Tuneable lasers have been a key enabling technology in a wide range of applications in various fields, from optical communications to sensing. Low linewidth, widely tuneable lasers are indispensable components in telecommunication networks, particularly in the long-haul and metro networks. In coherent transceivers, their low linewidth enables increased data rates by supporting advanced modulation formats within dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) systems. Wide wavelength tuneability simplifies network design and management, enables resources to be dynamically assigned and optimised, while also reducing inventory requirements. In optical fibre sensing (OFS) applications, such as fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) sensing, fast-swept tuneable lasers are used to interrogate sensors with Bragg gratings inscribed into optical fibres. These gratings reflect specific wavelengths of light based on the strain or temperature applied to the fibre, creating a distinctive spectral signature. Fast-switching and widely tuneable lasers enable precise and fast wavelength sweeps across the FBG sensor’s bandwidth to determine real-time and accurate readings of strain or temperature. Fast tuneable lasers also played a key role in the development of many optical switching architectures, in which the laser wavelength is quickly adjusted to switch or route optical traffic without the conversion of signals to electronic form.

Tunable Laser Chip
Tuneable laser chip on a custom test PCB
The device has a footprint smaller than 1 mm x 2 mm

Pilot Photonics Enabling single-chip photonic integrated circuits with comb-enhanced capabilities at wafer scale, today.

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