PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1324104 07.08.2003
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 1324104
Titel Optischer Wellenlängenfilter
Anmelder Fujitsu Ltd., Kawasaki, Kanagawa, JP
Erfinder Nakazawa, Tadao, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 211-8588, JP;
Miyata, Hideyuki, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 211-8588, JP;
Doi, Masaharu, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 211-8588, JP
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, CH, CY, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 27.03.2002
EP-Aktenzeichen 020072054
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 02.07.2003
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 07.08.2003
IPC-Hauptklasse G02F 1/11
IPC-Nebenklasse G02F 1/125   

Beschreibung[en]
Background of the Invention (1) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an optical wavelength filter to be used for various devices for optical communications, in particular, to an optical wavelength filter of band rejection type in which a plurality of optical filter sections each blocking a light of required wavelength from passing through, are cascade connected to be in a multi-staged structure.

(2) Related Art

There have been demanded developments of optical communication systems and optical signal processing systems capable of constructing networks of large capacities and ultra-long distance with an explosive increase of IP data communication demand. In a transmission system adopting a wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) transmission as a basic technique thereof, it is possible to realize the large capacity transmission and easily perform the division-multiplication with the wavelength as a unit, so that the construction of flexible optical networks that performs multiplication-division of different kinds of services at optical levels, such as, optical cross-connecting (OXC), optical add/drop multiplexing (OADM) and the like. Therefore, the development and manufacturing of transmission apparatus and signal processing apparatus using the above system have been remarkably made.

In these apparatuses, there are used many optical function devices, such as, an optical wavelength filter that separates a signal light for each wavelength, and the like. Specifically, the optical wavelength filter is used, for example, for the wavelength switching in the OXC and OADM, the separation of each wavelength at a receiving section, the ASE cutting, and the like.

By forming the above mentioned optical wavelength filter on a substrate made of SiO2, LiNbO3 and the like, it becomes possible to achieve the high functions, down-sizing, integration, reduction of electricity, and reduction of cost. Further, in a case where a plurality of optical wavelength filters integrated on a substrate are cascade connected, it is possible to achieve the narrow transmission band and the improvement of suppression ratio between other channels during used as band-pass type optical wavelength filters, and also it becomes possible to achieve the improvement of extinction ratio during used as band-rejection type optical wavelength filters (notch filters).

For the wavelength characteristics of the rejection type optical wavelength filter to be used for optical apparatuses, such as OXC, OADM and the like, as mentioned above, for example, as shown in the conceptual diagram of FIG. 18A, it is an ideal to have a filter characteristic that is changed in rectangular, namely, a change in transmissivity from the passing band to the blocking band is steep and also the blocking band has a required width. The multi-staged structure in which the above plurality of optical wavelength filters are cascade connected is considered to be useful as means for achieving the realization of the above described ideal filter characteristics. For example, if acousto-optic tunable filters are used as the optical wavelength filters at respective stages, it is known that, basically, the filter characteristic having an excellent extinction ratio can be obtained, as the number of stages of AOTFs is increased.

However, in a case where the multi-staged structure as described above is adopted, if the wavelengths (selected wavelengths) of lights to be blocked from passing through at the optical wavelength filters at respective stages are all coincident, as shown in the conceptual diagram of FIG. 18B, since the transmissivity becomes minimum at one point, the width of blocking band becomes narrower. For the blocking band of the rejection type optical wavelength filter, a required width needs to be ensured, considering the conditions of, for example, the wavelength width of optical signal corresponding to the spectrum width of light source such as laser, errors in setting or controlling of optical wavelengths filters, or the unstable wavelength of light source. Therefore, according to the filter characteristics as shown in FIG. 18B, it becomes impossible to block the passing of optical signal of desired wavelength even in a case a slight variation is caused in the setting of the optical signal wavelength or the setting of filter.

In the article " Theory of Double-Chirped Mirrors" by Matuschek N. et al., IEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, Vol. 4, No. 2, pages 197-208 , there is discussed a theory of double-chirped mirrors for dispersion compensation in ultrashort pulse laser sources.

In EP-A-0 938 017 there is disclosed a configuration of acousto-optical tunable filters having stable output characteristics so that the output does not significantly vary with time. The configuration includes a plurality of acousto-optical tunable filters cascaded together. The document discloses all the features of the preamble of claim 1 in combination.

In US 6,233,379 there is disclosed an acousto-optic filter having a non-birefringent single mode optical fiber with a longitudinal axis, a core and a cladding in a surrounding relationship to the core.

In the article " Ti: LiNbO3 Acousto-Optic Tunable Filter" by Nakazawa T. et al., Fujitsu Sci. Tech. J., 35(1), pages 107-112 there are described elements for an acousto-optic tunable filter including a polarization beam splitter with a high extinction ratio, low loss and wavelength independent characteristics, and a film-loaded SAW guide which has a strong confinement, excellent filter characteristics and provides a high design flexibility; and a directional coupler type reflector which enables high-performance waveguide integration. These elements are combined to construct an acousto-optic tunable filter consisting of five film-loaded SAW guides.

Summary of the Invention

The invention has been achieved in view of the above problems, and an object of the present invention is to provide an optical wavelength filter of band rejection type capable of reliably and stably blocking a light of required wavelength from passing through.

In order to achieve the above object, the present invention provides an optical wavelength filter of band rejection type comprising a plurality of acousto-optic filters each blocking light of a selected wavelength from passing therethrough by utilizing the acousto-optic effect, said plurality of acousto-optic filters being cascade connected to be in a multi-staged structure, wherein said acousto-optic filters are adapted to receive RF signals of an identical frequency, and are provided with means for deviating the selected wavelengths in the respective acousto-optic filters from one another so that a blocking band having therein a wavelength band containing the mutually deviated selected wavelengths of said plurality of acousto-optic filters is formed, and wherein said means for deviating said selected wavelengths are comprised by different respective widths of optical waveguides constituting said acousto-optic filters.

According to the optical wavelength filter as mentioned above, a characteristic in which transmission wavelength characteristics in the acousto-optic filters at respective stages are overlapped with one another can be obtained in the entire filter, and there is formed a blocking band having the wavelength band which includes said selected wavelengths of the respective acousto-optic filters. Thus, even if the wavelengths of optical signal, the filter setting and the like fluctuate, it is possible to reliably and stably block an optical signal of desired wavelength from passing through. further, since the plurality of acousto-optic filters are in the multi-staged structure, it is possible to obtain a filter characteristic having an excellent extinction ratio.

Further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following description of preferred embodiments when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

Brief Explanation of the Drawings

  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing a first embodiment of an optical wavelength filter according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a diagram showing a transmission wavelength characteristic of the optical wavelength filter in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing a second embodiment of an optical wavelength filter according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a diagram showing a transmission wavelength characteristic of the optical wavelength filter in FIG. 3;
  • FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing a third embodiment of an optical wavelength filter according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a diagram showing a relationship of selected wavelength to an optical waveguide width in the third embodiment;
  • FIG. 7 is a block diagram showing a first arrangement of an optical wavelength filter not according to the present invention but useful in the understanding thereof;
  • FIG. 8 is a block diagram showing a further arrangement of an optical wavelength filter not according to the present invention but useful in the understanding thereof;
  • FIG. 9 is a diagram for explaining the selected wavelength Doppler shift in AOTF in the further arrangement;
  • FIG. 10 is a block diagram showing a more specific embodiment of an optical wavelength filter according to the present invention;
  • FIG. 11 is a diagram for explaining the cross-connection of connecting optical paths in the variable wavelength filter of FIG. 10;
  • FIG. 12 is a diagram showing one example of the end face shape of a substrate in the variable wavelength filter of FIG. 10;
  • FIG. 13 is a diagram showing one example of fiber array structure connected to the substrate end face in the variable wavelength filter of FIG. 10;
  • FIG. 14 is a diagram for explaining inter-polarization-mode interference of a polarization-preserving fiber;
  • FIG. 15 is a diagram for explaining the deviation of selected wavelengths inherent to the substrate on which three-staged AOTFs are integrated, in which FIG. 15A to FIG. 15C are exemplary diagrams of wavelength deviation patterns, and FIG. 15D is a diagram showing a typical wavelength deviation pattern;
  • FIG. 16 is a schematic view arranging optimum connection relationships in view of an influence of selected wavelength Doppler shift and the like, according to the wavelength deviation patterns in FIG. 15; and
  • FIG. 17 is a diagram showing relationships among the selected wavelengths at respective stages set in the variable wavelength filter in FIG. 10.
  • FIG. 18 is a conceptual diagram for explaining filter characteristics of an optical wavelength filter of rejection type, in which FIG. 18A shows ideal filter characteristics, and FIG. 18B shows filter characteristics of when the selected wavelengths are coincident with one another in a multi-staged structure;

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments

Embodiments of the present invention will be described based on the drawings.

FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing a first embodiment of an optical wavelength filter according to the present invention.

In FIG. 1, an optical wavelength filter 1A is constituted such that, in a two-staged structure in which, for example, two optical filter sections of band rejection type 11 and 12 are cascade connected via a connecting optical path 212, selected wavelengths &lgr;1 and &lgr;2 of the optical filter sections 11 and 12 are set to be deviated from each other. Further, an input optical path 2IN that guides an input light from the outside to the optical filter section 11 at former stage, and an output optical path 2OUT that guides an output light from the optical filter section 12 at latter stage to the outside, are connected to the optical wavelength filter 1A, respectively.

As each of the optical filter sections 11 and 12, there may be used a known optical filter of band rejection type that polarization mode coverts only a required selected wavelength by utilizing, for example, the acousto-optic effect, electro-optic effect, photoelastic effect or the like, and polarization splits the converted light to block the passing thereof. Specific examples of the respective optical filter sections will be described later.

The selected wavelengths &lgr;1 and &lgr;2 of the optical filter sections 11 and 12 are set to be deviated, by a required amount, from the center wavelength of an optical signal to be blocked from passing through the present optical wavelength filter 1A, in view of conditions of the spectrum width of the optical signal, errors in setting or controlling of the optical wavelength filter, or the unstable wavelength of light source. A specific setting method of selected wavelengths in the respective optical filter sections will be described later.

In the optical wavelength filter 1A having such a constitution, for example, as shown in FIG. 2, a characteristic (a solid line in the figure) in which transmission wavelength characteristics (dotted lines in the figure) in the optical filter sections 11 and 12 of respective stages are overlapped with each other, can be obtained in the entire filter, and there is formed a blocking band having the wavelength band &dgr;&lgr; corresponding to a deviation amount between the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 and &lgr;2 of the respective optical filter sections 11 and 12.

When a WDM signal light including a plurality of optical signals of different wavelengths is input from the outside, via the input optical path 2IN, to the optical wavelength filter 1A having such a filter characteristic as described above, the input light is sent to the optical filter section 11, connecting optical path 212 and optical filter section 12, sequentially, so that an optical signal of wavelength within the blocking band is blocked from passing through, while optical signals of wavelengths outside of the blocking band are output to the outside via the output optical path 2OUT.

In this way, according to the present optical wavelength filter 1A, for example, even if the wavelengths of optical signals included in the input light, the filter setting and the like fluctuate, due to a change in temperature, a change with time lapse and the like, since the blocking band having the wavelength band &dgr;&lgr; is formed, it is possible to reliably and stably block an optical signal of a desired wavelength from passing through. Further, since two optical wavelength filter sections 11 and 12 of band rejection type are cascade connected to be in a two-staged structure, a filter characteristic having an excellent extinction ratio can be obtained.

Next, a second embodiment of an optical wavelength filter according to the present invention will be described.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing an optical wavelength filter of the second embodiment. Same components as those in the first embodiment shown in FIG. 1 are denoted by the same reference numerals and the descriptions thereof shall be omitted. Same rules shall be applied to the other embodiments.

In FIG. 3, an optical wavelength filter 1B in the second embodiment corresponds to a case where, for example, three optical wavelength filter sections 11, 12 and 13 of band rejection type are cascade connected. Specifically, in a three-stage structure in which the optical filter section 11 at first stage and the optical filter section 12 at second stage are connected to each other by a connecting optical path 212, and the optical filter section 12 at second stage and the optical filter section 13 at third stage are connected to each other by a connecting optical path 223, selected wavelengths &lgr;1, &lgr;2 and &lgr;3 of the optical wavelength filter sections 11, 12 and 13 are set to be deviated from one another. Also, an input optical path 2IN that guides an input light from the outside to the first stage optical filter section 11 and an output optical path 2OUT that guides an output light from the third stage optical filter section 13 are connected to the optical wavelength filter 1 B, respectively.

In the optical wavelength filter 1B having such a constitution, for example, as shown in FIG. 4, a characteristic (a solid line in the figure) in which transmission wavelength characteristics (dotted lines in the figure) in the optical filter sections 11 to 13 at respective stages are overlapped with one another, can be obtained in the entire filter. Herein, it is assumed that, for example, the selected wavelengths at respective stages are set so as to be in a relationship of &lgr;1 < &lgr;2 < &lgr;3, and there is formed a blocking band having the wavelength band &dgr;&lgr;' corresponding to a deviation amount between the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 and &lgr;3.

According to the optical wavelength filter 1B, as in the first embodiment, even if the wavelengths of optical signals included in the input light, the filter setting and the like fluctuate, since the blocking band having the wavelength band &dgr;&lgr;' is formed, it is possible to reliably and stably block an optical signal of a desired wavelength from passing through. Further, since three optical wavelength filter sections 11 to 13 of band rejection type are cascade connected to be in a three-staged structure, a filter characteristic having an excellent extinction ratio can be obtained.

In the above first or second embodiment, there has been shown two or three optical filter sections are cascade connected. However, the present invention is not limited thereto, and it is possible to apply the optical wavelength filter of the present invention to a case where four or more optical filter sections are cascade connected, in the same manner as described above.

Next, there will be described a third embodiment of an optical wavelength filter according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing an optical wavelength filter of the third embodiment.

In FIG. 5, the present optical wavelength filter is constituted such that, for the constitution of the second embodiment, acousto-optic tunable filters (AOTFs) are used as the optical filter sections 11 to 13 at respective stages, and the widths of optical waveguides 21 to 23 constituting the AOTFs 11 to 13 are made to differ from one another, to deviate the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 to &lgr;3 of the AOTFs 11 to 13from one another.

The AOTFs 11 to 13 include polarization beam splitters (PBSs) 31 a, 31 b to 33a, 33b on both ends of optical waveguides 21 to 23 formed on a substrate, respectively, and interdigital transducers (IDTs) 41 to 43 each generating a surface acoustic wave (SAW) are provided on the substrate. As the respective PBSs 31 a, 31 b to 33a, 33b, it is possible to use, for example, PBSs of crossing waveguide type and the like. Here, input and output ports of the PBSs positioned at the crossing sides of the crossing waveguides are connected to the optical waveguides, respectively, so that the respective PBSs are constituted to be of TE mode transmission type. Note, PBSs 31 a, 31b to 33a, 33b may be constituted to be of TM mode transmission type. The respective IDTs 41 to 43 are applied commonly with a signal of required frequency f generated by an RF signal generating circuit 40, to generate SAWs, respectively. The SAWs generated by the respective IDTs 41 to 43 are guided by SAW guides (not shown), to be propagated along the respective optical waveguides 21 to 23. Note, herein, the IDTs 41 to 43 are set to be arranged on an optical input sides on the optical waveguides 21 to 23, so that the SAWs are propagated in the same directions (forward directions) as the optical signals being propagated within the respective optical waveguides.

In the optical wavelength filter having the above constitution, for example, if an RF signal of frequency f = 170MHz is commonly applied to the IDTs 41 to 43, the selected wavelengths &lgr;1, &lgr;2 and &lgr;3 in the AOTFs 11 to 13 at respective stages are made to differ from one another, in accordance with a relationship of selected wavelengths to the optical waveguide widths as shown in FIG. 6. To be specific, for example, in a case where the width W1 of the optical waveguide 21 is set to 6.995µm, the width W2 of the optical waveguide 22 to 7.00µm, and the width W3 of the optical waveguide 23 to 7.005µm, the selected wavelength &lgr;1 in the first stage AOTF 11 is 1549.96nm, the selected wavelength &lgr;2 in the second stage AOTF 12 is 1550.00nm, and the selected wavelength &lgr;3 in the third stage AOTF 13 is 1550.04nm. Note, the settings of RF signal frequency f and optical waveguide widths W1 to W3 are not limited to the above example.

In this way, by previously designing the optical waveguide widths W1 to W2 in the AOTFs 11 to 13 to differ from one another, it is possible to deviate the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 to &lgr;3 at respective stages from one another. Therefore, a blocking band having the wavelength band &dgr;&lgr;' corresponding to a deviation amount between the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 and &lgr;3 is formed as same as in FIG. 4. Thus, it becomes possible to reliably and stably block an optical signal of a desired wavelength from passing through, to realize a variable wavelength filter of rejection type having an excellent extinction ratio.

Next, there will be described a first arrangement of an optical wavelength filter not according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a block diagram showing an optical wavelength filter of the first arrangement.

In FIG. 7, the present optical wavelength filter is constituted such that, for the constitution of the third embodiment, instead of differing the optical waveguide widths in the AOTFs 11 to 13 at respective stages from one another, frequencies of RF signals to be applied to the IDTs 41 to 43 are made to differ from one another, to deviate the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 &lgr;3 in the AOTFs 11 to 13 from one another.

Specifically, the optical waveguides in the AOTFs 11 to 13 at respective stages are made to be the same width W, and at the same time, RF signal generating circuits 401 to 403 are provided, respectively, corresponding to the IDTs 41 to 43 at respective stages, so that frequencies of the RF signal generating circuits 401, 402 and 403 are set to f1 = f0 + &dgr;f, f2 = f0 and f3 = f0 - &dgr;f, respectively.

For example, if the respective RF signals of frequencies f1 to f3 generated by the RF signal generating circuits 401 to 403 are applied to the corresponding IDTs 41 to 43 assuming that the optical waveguide width is W = 7.0 µm, and the setting of frequency is f0 = 170MHz and &dgr;f = 4kHz, the selected wavelength &lgr;1 in the first stage AOTF 11 is 1549.96nm, the selected wavelength &lgr;2 in the second stage AOTF 12 is 1550.00nm, and the selected wavelength &lgr;3 in the third stage AOTF 13 is 1550.04nm. Note, the settings of optical waveguide widths and RF signal frequencies f1 to f3 are not limited to the above example.

In this way, by previously designing the frequencies f1 to f2 of RF signals to be given to the AOTFs to differ from one another, it is also possible to deviate the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 to &lgr;3 at respective stages from one another. Thus, it is possible to obtain the same functions and effects as for the case of the third embodiment.

Next, there will be described a further arrangement of an optical wavelength filter not according to the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a block diagram showing an optical wavelength filter of the further arrangement.

In FIG. 8, the present optical wavelength filter is constituted such that, for the constitution of the third embodiment, instead of differing the optical waveguide widths in the AOTFs 11 to 13 at respective stages from one another, for example, the propagation directions of SAWs are made to be forward to the light propagation directions in the first and second stage AOTFs 11 and 12, and the propagation direction of SAW is made to be opposite to the light propagation direction in the third stage AOTF 13, so that the selected &lgr;3 in the AOTF 13 is deviated from the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 to &lgr;2 in the AOTFs 11 and 12, due to the selected wavelength Doppler shift to be described in the following.

Here, the selected wavelength Doppler shift will be described.

The selected wavelength Doppler shift is a phenomenon in which the wavelengths of the light to be polarization mode converted become different from one another due to the acousto-optic effect, depending on a relationship between the propagation direction of light within the optical waveguide and that of SAW transmitted along that optical waveguide. This phenomenon is caused by the same theory as that of typically known Doppler shift, and in the above case, it can be considered that the wavelength (frequency) of SAW viewed from the light is changed. Accordingly, for example, as shown in FIG. 9, if the propagation direction of light is the same forward direction as the propagation direction of SAW, the wavelength of SAW sensed by the light becomes longer. On the contrary, if the propagation direction of light is the reverse direction to the propagation direction of SAW, the wavelength of SAW sensed by the light becomes shorter. The selected wavelength &lgr; in a case of influenced by such a Doppler shift, can be represented by the following equation (1); &lgr; = &lgr; 0 1 - v / c

wherein &lgr;0 is the selected wavelength in a case where SAW is static, &ngr; is a speed of SAW, and c is an average speed of light in the optical waveguide.

Accordingly, a selected wavelength difference &Dgr;&lgr; caused by whether the propagation directions of the light and SAW are forward directions or reverse directions can be represented by the following equation (2). &Dgr;&lgr; = 2 &lgr; 0 = v / c 1 - v / c 2

In the constitution of the optical wavelength filter shown in FIG. 8, a selected wavelength difference &Dgr;&lgr; due to the above selected wavelength Doppler shift is caused between the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 and &lgr;2 in the AOTFs 11 and 12, and the selected wavelength &lgr;3 in the AOTF 13. Specifically, for example, if the frequency f of RF signal is set to 170MHz and the optical waveguide width W in each of the AOTFs 11 to 13 is set to 7.0µm, each of the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 and &lgr;2 in the AOTFs 11 and 12 is 1550.00nm, and the selected wavelength &lgr;3 in the AOTF 13 is 1549.918nm. Note, the settings of optical waveguide widths and RF signal frequency f are not limited to the above example.

In this way, it is possible to previously design the propagation directions of SAWs to the light propagation directions in the AOTFs 11 to 13 at respective stages to be changed, to deviate the selected wavelengths at respective stages from one another by utilizing the selected wavelength Doppler shift. In the constitutional example in FIG. 8, a blocking band having the wavelength band corresponding to a deviation amount between the selected wavelength &lgr;1 = &lgr; 2, and the selected wavelength &lgr;3 is formed. Thus, it becomes possible to reliably and stably block an optical signal of a desired wavelength from passing through, to realize a variable wavelength filter of rejection type having an excellent extinction ratio.

In the further arrangement, since the selected wavelength &lgr;3 is deviated by utilizing the selected wavelength Doppler shift and the selected wavelength &lgr;1 and &lgr;2 are made to be the same value, the wavelength width of the blocking band is narrower than those in the third embodiment and the first arrangement. However, for example, by differing the optical waveguide widths in the AOTFs 11 and 12 from each other as in the third embodiment, or by differing the frequencies of RF signals to be given to the AOTFs 11 and 12 from each other as in the first arrangement, it is possible to deviate the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 and &lgr;2 from each other to widen the wavelength width of blocking band. In this way, the optical wavelength filter of the present invention also includes such a constitution that the constitutions in the third embodiment and the first and further arrangements are appropriately combined with one another, to deviate the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 to &lgr;3 in the AOTFs 11 to 13 at respective stages from one another.

Furthermore, for the SAW guides at respective stages (not shown in the third embodiment and first and further arrangements), it is possible to differ the speeds of SAWs (acoustic velocities) being propagated through respective guides from one another, to deviate the selected wavelengths &lgr;1 to &lgr;3 in the AOTFs 11 to 13 at respective stages from one another.

Here, a specific embodiment of the optical wavelength filter according to the present invention will be described in detail. In the following, a variable wavelength filter of rejection type embodied by cascade loop connecting three AOTFs on the same substrate is considered, as one example.

FIG. 10 is a plan view showing the constitution of the variable wavelength filter according to the above embodiment.

In the variable wavelength filter shown in FIG. 10, for example, three AOTFs formed on the same substrate 1 are connected to one another by means of connecting optical paths 213 and 223, as optical filter sections 11 to 13. Optical input and output portions of the connected AOTFs on the same substrate 1 are connected to the input optical path 2IN and the output optical path 2OUT by using an optical circulator 4, a polarization beam splitter (PBS) 5, a polarization rotating section 6 and connecting optical paths 2A, 2B, 2C, so that the three AOTFs on the substrate 1 are cascade connected in a loop.

Further, the present variable wavelength filter is provided with a first monitoring section 100 that monitors a dropped light blocked from passing through by a required AOTF, so as to perform a tracking control of the operation states of the AOTFs cascade loop connected on the substrate 1. Moreover, the present variable wavelength filter is provided with a second monitoring section 200 that monitors the lights passed through monitoring AOTFs on the substrate 1, which operate in accordance with the parameter same as for the AOTFs, in order to previously detect a control value of the AOTFs cascade loop connected on the substrate 1, at the starting, the alteration of setting or the like, of the present variable wavelength filter. The monitoring results of the first and second monitoring sections 100 and 200 are sent to an RF signal controlling section 300 that controls RF signals to be given to the respective AOTFs, to control the operation states of AOTFs.

The substrate 1 is constituted such that five optical waveguides 21, 22, 23, 221 and 222 substantially parallel with one another are formed on a substrate material made of, for example, LiNbO3. The optical waveguides 21 to 23 are used for the main signal, and the optical waveguides 221 and 222 are used for the second monitoring section 200. The respective optical waveguides 21, 22, 23, and 221, 222 are provided with polarization beam splitters (PBS) 31 a, 31 b, 32a, 32b, 33a, 33b, and 231 a, 231 b, 232a, 232b, respectively, at both end portions thereof. Also, the substrate 1 is formed with interdigital transducers (IDT) 41, 42, 43, and 241, 242, and SAW guides 51, 52, 53, and 251, 252, corresponding to the optical waveguides 21, 22, 23, and 221, 222, respectively.

As the respective PBSs 31 a, 31 b, 32a, 32b, 33a and 33b for main signal, it is possible to use, for example, PBSs of crossing waveguide type and the like. Here, input and output ports of the PBSs positioned at the crossing sides of the crossing waveguides are connected to the optical waveguides, respectively, so that the respective PBSs are constituted to be of TE mode transmission type. Further, as the respective PBSs 231a, 231b, 232a and 232b for the second monitoring section 200, it is possible to use, for example, PBSs of crossing waveguide type and the like. However, herein, input and output ports of the PBSs 231 a and 232b positioned at the crossing sides of the crossing waveguides are connected to the optical waveguides, respectively, so that the PBSs 231a and 232b are constituted to be of TE mode transmission type, while input and output ports of the PBSs 231b and 232a positioned at the bar sides of the crossing waveguides are connected to the optical waveguides, respectively, so that the PBSs 231b and 232a are constituted to be of TM mode transmission type.

The respective IDTs 41 to 43, 241 and 242 are applied commonly with a signal of required frequency f generated by an RF signal generating circuit 40, to generate surface acoustic waves (SAW), respectively, on the substrate 1. Note, as will be described later, positions of the respective IDTs 41 to 43, 241 and 242 are preferably set such that relationships between the propagation directions of SAWs and the propagation directions of lights within the corresponding optical waveguides are those taking into account of influences of selected wavelength Doppler shift and the like.

The SAW guides 51 to 53, 251 and 252 are those for propagating respective SAWs generated at the IDTs 41 to 43, 241 and 242 through the optical waveguides 21 to 23, 221 and 222, respectively. Here, a case is shown where, for example, SAW guides of directional coupling type formed in required shape by Ti diffusion are used, as the SAW guides 51 to 53, 251 and 252.

In the AOTF using the SAW guides of directional coupling type, SAWs generated at the IDTs are directionally coupled by the SAW guides of required shape, so that SAWs most strongly interfere the light being propagated through the optical waveguide in the vicinity of the center of mode conversion area. Thus, it is possible to achieve the suppression of side lobe level in the filter characteristics of AOTF. Note, in the SAW guides shown in FIG. 10, curving shapes are adopted in order to directionally couple SAWs in accordance with a further desired function. In this way, it becomes possible to suppress further effectively the side lobe level.

Here, the case is shown where the AOTF using the SAW guides of directional coupling type is used. However, the present invention is not limited thereto, and it is possible to use AOTF and the like formed with SAW guides of thin film type on the optical waveguides. Further, for the AOTF using the SAW guides of thin film type, the arrangement may be such that the longitudinal direction of each SAW guide is inclined by a required amount to the axial direction of the optical waveguide so that the propagation axis of SAW and the optical axis cross each other at an inclined angle. By adopting such an arrangement, the intensity of surface acoustic wave sensed by the light is weighted in the longitudinal direction. Thus, it becomes possible to achieve the suppression of side lobe level.

The optical circulator 4 is a typical optical component that includes at least three ports 4a, 4b and 4c, and transmits the light only in a direction from the port 4a to port 4b, from the port 4b to port 4c, and from the port 4c to port 4a. This optical circulator 4 is connected with the input optical path 2IN, the connecting optical path 2A to be connected to a PBS 5, and the output optical path 2OUT, to the port 4a, port 4b, and port 4c, respectively.

The PBS 5 splits an input light sent from the port 4b of the optical circulator 4 via the connecting optical path 2A into two polarization lights with polarization planes thereof being orthogonal to each other, to output one of the two polarization lights to one end of the connecting optical path 2B, while outputting the other polarization light to one end of the connecting optical path 2C. The other end of the connecting optical path 2B is connected to the PBS 31 a positioned on the optical waveguide 21 of the substrate 1, and the other end of the connecting optical path 2c is connected to the PBS 32a positioned on the optical waveguide 22 of the substrate 1. Also, herein, a polarization rotating section 6 is inserted onto the connecting optical path 2C. The polarization rotating section 6 has a function for rotating the polarization plane of the other polarization light split by the PBS 5 by 90 degrees.

The PBS 31 b positioned on the optical waveguide 21 of the substrate 1 is connected to the PBS 33b positioned on the optical waveguide 23 by the connecting optical path 213. Further, the PBS 32b positioned on the optical waveguide 22 of the substrate 1 is connected to the PBS 33a positioned on the end portion of the optical waveguide 23 by the connecting optical path 223. Thus, the three AOTFs for main signal on the substrate 1 are cascade connected in a loop between the input optical path 2IN and the output optical path 2OUT.

The connecting optical paths 2B, 2C, 213 and 223 are polarization-preserving fibers, and here, for example, PANDA type fibers are used. However, the structure of polarization-preserving fiber is not limited to the PANDA type fiber, and it is possible to adopt a known structured fiber. Further, each of the connecting optical paths 2B, 2C, 213 and 223 includes a cross-connecting section C spliced by rotating the polarization axis substantially by 90 degrees as shown in FIG. 11, and suppresses an influence due to the deviation of polarization axis of when connecting an optical device having polarization dependence by the polarization-preserving fiber, as described later.

Moreover, the first monitoring section 100 connected to the substrate 1 comprises an optical isolator 101A and a light receiver 102A for monitoring a dropped light from the lights sequentially passing in one direction through the respective AOTFs cascade loop connected to one another, an optical isolator 101B and a light receiver 102B for monitoring a dropped light from the lights sequentially passing in the other direction through the respective AOTFs cascade loop connected to one another, and a circuit 103 that adds up output signals photo-electrically converted by the light receivers 102A and 102B, to output a monitor signal M1.

Here, an input port of the optical isolator 101 A is connected to a TM mode output port of the PBS 31 b on the substrate 1 via a connecting optical path 2D, while an input port of the optical isolator 101B is connected to a TM mode output port of the PBS 32 on the substrate 1 via a connecting optical path 2E. As described later, it is desirable to set a position for monitoring the dropped signal for the light in each direction to an AOTF stage wherein the selected wavelength (dropped wavelength) is positioned at the center of blocking band, considering an influence of dithering to be given to the RF signal.

Further, the second monitoring section 200 connected to the substrate 1 includes an optical coupler 201 on the input optical path 2IN that branches a part of the input light by a required branching ratio (for example, 10:1 and the like), a PBS 202 that polarization splits the branched light from the optical coupler 201 to send the split lights to the respective monitoring AOTFs on the substrate 1, a PBS 204 that multiplexes the polarization lights passed through the monitoring AOTFs on the substrate 1, and a light receiver 206 that converts the monitor light multiplexed by the PBS 204 into an electrical signal, to thereby output a monitor signal M2.

The PBS 202 splits the branched light sent from the optical coupler 201 via a connecting optical path 2F into two polarization lights with polarization planes thereof being orthogonal to each other, and outputs one of the polarization lights to one end of a connecting optical path 2G, while outputting the other polarization light to one end of a connecting optical path 2H. The other end of the connecting optical path 2G is connected to a PBS 231 a positioned on the optical waveguide 221 of the substrate 1, and the other end of the connecting optical path 2H is connected to a PBS 232b positioned on the optical waveguide 222 of the substrate 1. Also, herein, a polarization rotating section 203 is inserted onto the connecting optical path 2H. The polarization rotating section 203 has a function for rotating the polarization plane of the other polarization light split by the PBS 202 by 90 degrees.

The PBS 204 multiplexes the polarization lights with polarization planes thereof being orthogonal to each other, passed through the monitoring AOTFs on the substrate 1 to be sent via respective connecting optical paths 2I and 2J, to output the multiplexed light to the light receiver 206. Specifically, a TM mode light output from a PBS 231b on the optical waveguide 221 of the substrate 1 is input to the PBS 204 through the connecting optical path 2I, and at the same time, a TM mode light output from a PBS 232a on the optical waveguide 222 of the substrate 1 passes through the connecting optical path 2J and is rotated with polarization plane thereof by 90 degrees at a polarization rotating section 205, to be input to the PBS 204.

For the respective connecting optical paths 2D, 2E, 2G, 2H, 2I and 2J used in the first and second monitoring sections 100 and 200, for example, optical paths of polarization-preserving type such as PANDA type fiber are used, and each optical path includes, in the vicinity of the center in the longitudinal direction, the cross-connecting section C of the same structure as in the above mentioned FIG. 11.

It is preferable that two end faces opposite to each other of the substrate 1, to which the respective optical paths for main signal and for monitoring are connected, are inclined by required angles so as to reduce an influence of reflected light at the faces connected with the respective optical paths, for example, as shown in FIG. 12. Also, it is preferable that the optical fibers to be connected to each of the substrate end faces are structured in a fiber array, for example, as shown in FIG. 13. Note, the optical fibers provided in parallel to the respective connecting optical paths 213 and 223 in FIG. 13, are for extracting the dropped lights and the like to be blocked from passing through by the AOTFs at respective stages. An arrangement for the polarization axes of the polarization-preserving fibers within the fiber array is desirable to be set, considering the symmetry with a fiber array connected to the substrate end face on the opposite side, so that the kinds of the both side fiber arrays are the same.

In the variable wavelength filter having the above mentioned constitution, the input light propagated through the input optical path 2IN is sent to the PBS 5 via the optical circulator 4 and the connecting optical path 2A, and split into two polarization lights orthogonal to each other, to be output to the connecting optical paths 2B and 2C, respectively. The polarization light output to the connecting optical path 2C is rotated with polarization plane thereof by 90 degrees by the polarization rotating section 6, to be aligned with the polarization direction of the polarization light output to the connecting optical path 2B. Then, the respective polarization lights propagated through the connecting optical paths 2B and 2C are given to the PBSs 31 a and 32a on the substrate 1, respectively, as the TE mode lights. Note, in FIG. 10, the polarization directions of propagated lights are indicated together with the cross section of arrangement of polarization axes of the PANDA type fibers, so that the polarization directions of propagated lights at the respective portions on the optical paths cascade loop connected can be clearly understood.

The TE mode light given to the PBS 31 a passes therethrough and is propagated through the optical waveguide 21 toward the PBS 31b. At this time, SAW generated as a result that the RF signal of frequency f from the RF signal generating circuit 40 is applied to the IDT 41, is guided along the optical waveguide 21 by the SAW guide 51, to be propagated in the same direction (forward direction) as the propagated light within the optical waveguide 21. Due to the acousto-optic effect by this SAW, only the light of wavelength corresponding to the frequency of SAW (selected wavelength) out of the TE mode light being propagated within the optical waveguide 21, is mode converted into a TM mode light. Then, the lights of respective modes reach the PBS 31 b, the TE mode light of wavelengths different from the selected wavelength (non-selected wavelengths), that has not been mode converted, passes through the PBS 31 b to be output to the connecting optical path 213, while the mode converted TM mode light of selected wavelength is branched by the PBS 31 b as a dropped light, to be sent to the optical isolator 101A of the first monitoring section 100.

The TE mode light output to the connecting optical path 213 passes through the PANDA type fiber that is spliced by 90 degrees in the vicinity of the center in the longitudinal direction, to be sent to the PBS 33b on the optical waveguide 23. At this time, a periodic wavelength dependence loss or polarization mode dispersion (PMD) due to inter-polarization-mode interference caused in the PANDA type fiber, and a polarization dependence loss (PDL) caused in the PBS on the substrate 1 and the like are offset in front of and behind the 90 degree splice point, to be suppressed.

Here, there will be described the inter-polarization-mode interference caused within the optical paths of polarization-preserving type.

In a case where a plurality of optical devices each having polarization dependence are connected by polarization-preserving fiber or the like, it is an ideal to perform the connection by completely coinciding the polarization axis (Fast axis, Slow axis) directions of the polarization-preserving fiber with the axis direction of polarization light to be input/output to/from the optical devices. However, in the actual connection of the polarization-preserving fiber with the optical devices, it is difficult to completely coincide the axis directions with each other and thus, certain axis deviation cannot be avoided.

If the axis deviation as mentioned above is caused, as shown in FIG. 14, the inter-polarization-mode interference of the polarization-preserving fiber is caused, resulted in the periodic wavelength dependence loss in the transmission characteristics of optical devices. The period of this periodic wavelength dependence loss becomes 1/&tgr;, if a difference between the propagation times of Fast axis and Slow axis of the polarization-preserving fiber is &tgr;. Such a periodic wavelength dependence loss due to the inter-polarization-mode interference of the polarization-preserving fiber causes a change in level of transmission light, for example, in an optical filter of band rejection type, to lead characteristic deterioration.

Therefore, in the present variable wavelength filter, by splicing the PANDA type fiber by rotating the polarization axis thereof by 90 degrees in the vicinity of the center of the connecting optical path in the longitudinal direction, the respective directions of Fast axis and Slow axis are switched in front of and behind the splicing point, so that the polarization light to be propagated through the connecting optical path is propagated through the respective polarization axes for substantially equal distances. Thus, the influence by the above mentioned periodic wavelength dependence loss, PMD or PDL shall be offset.

The TE mode light sent to the PBS 33b on the substrate 1 passes therethrough and is propagated within the optical waveguide 23 toward the PBS 33a. At this time, SAW generated at the IDT 43 and guided by the SAW guide 53 is propagated in a reverse direction to the propagated light within the optical waveguide 23. Due to the acousto-optic effect by this SAW, only the light corresponding to the selected wavelength out of the TE mode light being propagated through the optical waveguide 23 is mode converted into a TM mode light. Then, when the lights of respective modes reach the PBS 33a, the TE mode light of non-selected wavelengths, that has not been mode converted, passes through the PBS 33a to be output to the connecting optical path 223, while the mode converted TM mode light of selected wavelength is branched by the PBS 33a.

The TE mode light output to the connecting optical path 223 is sent to the PBS 32b on the optical waveguide 22 while the periodic wavelength dependence loss and the like thereof being suppressed by passing the PANDA type fiber having the cross-connecting section C, in the same manner as when passed through the connecting optical path 213.

The TE mode light sent to the PBS 32b passes therethrough and is propagated within the optical waveguide 22 toward the PBS 32a. At this time, SAW generated at the IDT 42 and guided by the SAW guide 52 is propagated in a forward direction to the propagated light within the optical waveguide 22. Due to the acousto-optic effect by this SAW, only the light corresponding to the selected wavelength out of the TE mode light being propagated through the optical waveguide 22 is mode converted into a TM mode light. The TE mode light of non-selected wavelengths, that has not been mode converted, passes through the PBS 32a to be output to the connecting optical path 2c, while the mode converted TM mode light of selected wavelength is branched by the PBS 32a. The TE mode light output to the connecting optical path 2c is rotated with the polarization plane thereof by 90 degrees by the polarization rotating section 6 on the connecting optical path 2c and then returned to the PBS 5.

The respective selected wavelengths to be mode converted at the respective optical waveguides 21 to 23 are slightly different from one another, due to the above described selected wavelength Doppler shift, or inherent wavelength deviation caused by variations in manufacturing process of the substrate 1, even in a constitution where the RF signal is applied commonly to the IDTs 41 to 43. This wavelength deviation by variations in manufacturing process is caused inherently in individual substrate due to manufacturing errors in widths of optical waveguides 21 to 23 at respective stages. Therefore, in the variable wavelength filter shown in FIG. 10, the wavelength deviation inherent to the substrate caused by variations in manufacturing process is considered and also the selected wavelength difference &Dgr;&lgr; due to the selected wavelength Doppler shift is utilized, to ensure a required width of blocking band by slightly deviating the selected wavelengths in the AOTFs at respective stages with one another as in FIG. 4.

Specifically, when the selected wavelengths corresponding to the respective optical waveguides 21, 22, 23 when SAWs of the same frequency f are given in the forward directions to the propagated lights are made &lgr;1F, &lgr;2F and &lgr;3F, while the selected wavelengths corresponding to the respective optical waveguides 21, 22, 23 when SAWs of the same frequency f are given in the reverse directions to the propagated lights are made &lgr;1R, &lgr;2R and &lgr;3R, there occurs various patterns in the wavelength deviation inherent to the substrate caused by variations in manufacturing process, as shown in FIG. 15A to FIG. 15C, for example. Such wavelength deviation patterns of the three staged AOTFs can be classified into six patterns P1 to P6 as shown in FIG. 15D when the values of &lgr;2R - &lgr;1R are put on the horizontal axis and the values of &lgr;3R - &lgr;1R are put on the transverse axis with the selected wavelength &lgr;1R as the reference.

In order to realize the selected wavelengths that are slightly deviated among the respective stages as shown in FIG. 4, it is required to determine optimum combinations of the wavelength deviation of the patterns P1 to P6, with the wavelength difference due to the selected wavelength Doppler shift. When determining the optimum combinations, it is desired to consider the condition that the connection relationship in which such kinds of fiber arrays as explained in FIG. 13 can be made same on the both ends of the substrate 1, and the connection relationship of the input and output for suppressing an influence by stray light as described in the following, are satisfied at the same time.

In a case where a plurality of optical devices integrated on the same substrate are connected to be used, most of the input light from a substrate input section passes through the optical devices, however, as shown by an arrow in dotted line in FIG. 10, a part of the input light is emitted into the substrate to be propagated as the stray light S. This stray light S is likely to be coupled to an output section bypassing the optical devices, thereby causing deterioration of extinction ratio and the like.

In order to effectively suppress such a leakage phenomenon of the stray light S from the input side to the output side, for example, in a case where a plurality of optical devices on the same substrate are cascade connected to be used, such a connection relationship is preferable that both ends of optical path passing through all of optical devices are positioned on the same end face of the substrate. By realizing such a connection relationship, the stray light S from the input side is hardly to be coupled to the light being propagated within the optical path on the output side.

The optimum combinations satisfying all the conditions of the above mentioned selected wavelength Doppler shift and the like, including the connection relationship of input and output for suppressing the above influence by the stray light, can be determined corresponding to the respective patterns P1 to P6 in FIG. 15D, and the combination results are shown in FIG. 16.

In FIG. 16, the numerals ① to ⑥ indicated at both ends of the substrate show the connecting orders of AOTFs at respective stages. Further, characters such as " F - F - R "(forward-forward-reverse) indicated at the upper part of the substrate show the propagation direction of SAW relative to the light being propagated through the optical waveguide positioned at the upper stage of the substrate in the figure, the propagation direction of SAW relative to the light being propagated through the optical waveguide positioned at the middle stage of the substrate, and the propagation direction of SAW relative to the light being propagated through the optical waveguide positioned at the lower stage of the substrate, in this sequence. Further, arrangements of respective polarization axes of when the respective PANDA type fibers connected to the both ends of the substrate are made fiber arrays of same kind, are shown on the right and left sides of the substrate.

The constitution of the variable wavelength filter shown in FIG. 10 specifically illustrates the connection relationship corresponding to the pattern P1 in FIG. 16. For the selected wavelength Doppler shift, the arrangement of the IDTs 41, 43 and 42 at the respective stages are set so that, to the light given via the connecting optical path 2B, the propagation direction of SAW in the AOTF of the first stage corresponding to the optical waveguide 21 is the forward direction, the propagation direction of SAW in the AOTF of the second stage corresponding to the optical waveguide 23 is the reverse direction, and the propagation direction of SAW in the AOTF of the third stage corresponding to the optical waveguide 22 is the forward direction. In the AOTFs at respective stages, since the RF signal of the same frequency is given to the IDTs, the wavelength difference due to the selected wavelength Doppler shift corresponding to the above equation (2) is caused between the selected wavelengths at the first and third stages, and the selected wavelength at the second stage. Thus, by combining the wavelength difference with the inherent wavelength deviation of the pattern P1, it becomes possible to realize the filter characteristic as shown in FIG. 4.

Meanwhile, in the variable wavelength filter, the TE mode light given from the PBS 5 to the PBS 32a of the substrate 1 via the connecting optical path 2C and the polarization rotating section 6 passes through the AOTFs at respective stages sequentially, in reverse to the TE mode light given to the PBS 31 a of the substrate 1 via the connecting optical path 2B, namely, passes sequentially through the optical waveguide 22, PBS 32a, connecting optical path 223, PBS 33a, optical waveguide 23, PBS 33b, connecting optical path 213, PBS 31b, optical waveguide 21 and PBS 31a, to be output to the connecting optical path 2B, and is returned to the PBS 5 under the polarization state just as is without polarization plane thereof rotated. In this reverse propagation of the polarization light, the mode converted TM mode light corresponding to the selected wavelength when being propagated through the optical waveguide 22, is branched by the PBS 32b as the dropped light, to be sent to the optical isolator 101B of the first monitoring section 100.

The respective polarization lights with polarization planes thereof being orthogonal to each other, returned to the PBS 5 via the connecting optical paths 2B and 2C, are multiplexed by the PBS 5 and thereafter sent to the optical circulator 4 via the connecting optical path 2A, to be output to the output optical path 2OUT after passing from the port 4b to the port 4c.

As mentioned above, when the polarization lights from the connecting optical paths 2B and 2C are propagated in bi-directions through the three staged AOTFs cascade loop connected on the substrate 1, the stray light S generated from each of the PBSs 31 a and 32a at the one end of each of the optical waveguides 21 and 22 is propagated toward the end face on the opposite side to the optical input side of the substrate 1. However, since the connecting optical paths 2B and 2C are connected to the PBSs 31 a and 32a positioned on the same end face of the substrate 1, respectively, the leakage phenomenon of the stray light from the input side to the output side is suppressed.

Moreover, in the variable wavelength filter, the dropped lights branched by the PBSs 31 b and 32b, pass through the optical isolators 101 A and 101B of the first monitoring section 100, to be converted into electrical signals at the light receivers 102A and 102B, respectively, and further are added up by the circuit 103 to be sent to the RF signal controlling section 300 as the monitor signal M1. In the RF signal controlling section 300, the peak wavelengths of the dropped lights are detected based on the monitor signal M1, and an amount of wavelength deviation to the previously set control value (selected wavelength) is obtained based on the monitoring result by the second monitoring section 200.

In the RF signal controlling section 300, as a method for detecting the peak wavelengths of the dropped lights based on the monitor signal M1, for example, a method to add dithering to the frequency f of RF signal to be applied commonly to the IDTs 41 to 43 at the respective stages, is suitable. Specifically, in a case where the frequency f of RF signal is set to, for example, 170MHz, 4kHz or the like is set as the frequency &Dgr;f of the dithering, and the RF signal of which frequency fluctuates within a range of f ± &Dgr;f is applied to each of the IDTs 41 to 43. Thus, the selected wavelengths to be mode converted in the AOTFs at the respective stages fluctuate corresponding to the frequency &Dgr;f of the dithering. Accordingly, the monitor signal M1 to be monitored by the first monitoring section 100 includes frequency components corresponding to the dithering. Thus, it becomes possible to detect the peak wavelengths of the actually dropped lights by utilizing the detected frequency components.

Here, in a case where the dithering is added to the frequency of RF signal, it is desirable that, for the blocking band as shown in FIG. 4, the dropped light is taken out from the AOTF stage of which selected wavelength is positioned at the center of the blocking band, to monitor the dropped light by the first monitoring section 100. This is a useful setting for realizing the stable peak wavelength detection, by avoiding such a situation where, for example, if the dropped light from the AOTF stage of which selected wavelength is positioned at the end portion of the blocking band is monitored, the wavelength of the dropped light fluctuating by the dithering reaches the wavelength region where the transmissivity is steeply changed, so that the level of dropped light to be monitored by the first monitoring section 100 is largely changed, thereby resulting in a possibility that the peak wavelength of dropped light cannot be accurately detected.

In the constitution of FIG. 10, the setting of the blocked wavelengths (selected wavelength) corresponding to the optical waveguides 21 to 23 on the substrate 1 is indicated in the relationship as shown in FIG. 17. Therefore, for the light given to the substrate 1 via the connecting optical path 2B and propagated sequentially through the optical waveguides 21, 23 and 22, the monitoring is performed on the dropped light in the optical waveguide 21 corresponding to the wavelength &lgr;1F positioned substantially at the center of the blocking band, depending on the relationship of blocking wavelength as shown by a bold line in the figure. Moreover, for the light given to the substrate 1 via the connecting optical path 2C and propagated sequentially through the optical waveguides 22, 23 and 21, the monitoring is performed on the dropped light in the optical waveguide 22 corresponding to the wavelength &lgr;2R, depending on the relationship of blocking wavelength as shown by a thin line in the figure.

Based on the peak wavelengths of dropped lights detected in the above manner, the wavelength deviation amount to the previously set control value (selected wavelength) is obtained based on the monitoring result by the second monitoring section 200, and a controlling signal for correcting the frequency of RF signal is generated according to the wavelength deviation amount, to be output to the RF signal generating circuit 40. Then, in the RF signal generating circuit 40, in accordance with the controlling signal from the RF signal controlling section 300, the frequency f of RF signal is corrected, and the corrected RF signal is applied commonly to the IDTs 41 to 43 at the respective stages. Thus, even if the filter characteristic is changed due to a change in temperature, deterioration with time lapse or the like, it becomes possible to block reliably and stably a light desired wavelength from passing through, by tracking and controlling the frequency of RF signal.

Further, in the present variable wavelength filter, at the starting time or at the alteration of setting, a process for previously detecting the control value of the AOTFs cascade loop connected on the substrate 1 is executed by the RF signal controlling section 300 based on the monitor signal M2 from the second monitoring section 200. In the second monitoring section 200, there is monitored the light passed through the monitoring AOTFs that operate in accordance with the same parameter as for the three staged AOTFs cascade connected on the substrate 1. That is, the branched light from the optical coupler 201 on the input optical path 2IN is polarization split by the PBS 202. One of the polarization lights is given, as a TE mode light, to the PBS 231 a on the optical waveguide 221 of the substrate 1 via the connecting optical path 2G, to be propagated within the optical waveguide 221 toward the PBS 231 b. At this time, due to the acousto-optic effect of SAW generated at the IDT 241 and propagated through the SAW guide 251, only the light corresponding to the selected wavelength out of the TE mode light being propagated within the optical waveguide 221 is mode converted into a TM mode light. Then, when the respective mode lights reach the PBS 231 b, the mode converted TM mode light of selective wavelength passes therethrough and is sent to the PBS 204 via the connecting optical path 2I.

On the contrary, the other polarization light polarization split by the PBS 202 is rotated with polarization plane thereof by 90 degrees by the polarization rotating section 203, and then given, as a TE mode light, to the PBS 232b on the optical waveguide 222 of the substrate 1 via the connecting optical path 2H, to be propagated within the optical waveguide 222 toward the PBS 232a. At this time, due to the acousto-optic effect of SAW generated at the IDT 242 and propagated through the SAW guide 252, only the light corresponding to the selected wavelength out of the TE mode light being propagated within the optical waveguide 222 is mode converted into a TM light. Then, when the respective mode lights reach the PBS 232a, the mode converted TM mode light of selective wavelength passes therethrough, and is rotated with polarization plane thereof by 90 degrees by the polarization rotating section 205 and then sent to the PBS 204 via the connecting optical path 2J.

In the PBS 204, the polarization lights with polarization planes being orthogonal to each other from the connecting optical paths 2I and 2J, are multiplexed to be sent to the light receiver 206. In the light receiver 206, the monitor signal from the PBS 204 is converted into an electrical signal, to be output to the RF signal controlling section 300, as the monitor signal M2.

In the RF signal controlling section 300, at the starting time or at the alteration of setting, a controlling signal for sweeping the frequency of RF signal within a required range is generated, to be output to the RF signal generating circuit 40. Then, the wavelengths of lights actually selected by the monitoring AOTFs on the substrate 1 are detected based on the monitor signal M2 from the second monitoring section 200, corresponding to the RF signals of respective swept frequencies, and in accordance with the detection result, the RF signal frequency corresponding to a desired selected wavelength is judged to be initially set as a control value for the starting time or the time of alteration of setting.

The control value set based on the monitor signal M2 from the second monitoring section 200, is determined in accordance with the wavelengths of lights actually passed through the monitoring AOTFs that operate in accordance with the same control parameter (frequency of RF signal) for the AOTFs cascade connected that process the main signal light, and therefore, can achieve an extremely higher precision, compared with a value obtained by using a monitoring device that operates in accordance with a different control parameter. In the variable wavelength filter to be used for the OXC apparatus, OADM apparatus or the like, if the light of wavelength that is needed to pass through, is erroneously blocked, the services to the users are suspended. Therefore, the control parameter requires a high precision in the initial value thereof. Accordingly, it is very useful that the controlling function of RF signal based on the monitoring result by the second monitoring section 200 is provided in the variable wavelength filter.

As described above, according to the present variable wavelength filter, the wavelength deviation inherent to the substrate caused by variations in manufacturing process is considered and also the selected wavelength &Dgr;&lgr; due to the selected wavelength Doppler shift is utilized, to deviate the selected wavelengths in the AOTFs at respective stages that are cascade loop connected. Thereby, since a blocking band having the wavelength width corresponding to the deviation amount is formed, it becomes possible to reliably and stably block an optical signal of a desired wavelength from passing through and also to realize a variable wavelength filter of rejection type having an excellent extinction ratio.


Anspruch[de]
Ein Filter (1A, 1B) für optische Wellenlängen vom Bandsperretyp mit einer Vielzahl von akusto-optischen Filtern (11, 12, 13), die jeweils einen optischen Wellenleiter aufweisen und die jeweils unter Benutzung des akusto-optischen Effekts Licht einer ausgewählten Wellenlänge daran hindern, [durch das Filter] hindurch zu treten, wobei die Vielzahl der akusto-optischen Filter als Kaskade miteinander verbunden sind, um in einem mehrstufigen Aufbau zu sein, wobei: die akusto-optischen Filter ausgebildet sind zum Empfangen von Hochfrequenzsignalen (Englisch: RF Signals) mit einer identischen Frequenz und versehen sind mit Abweichungsmitteln, die so ausgebildet sind, dass die ausgewählten Wellenlängen in den entsprechenden akusto-optischen Filtern voneinander abweichen, so dass

ein Sperrband ausgebildet wird, das darin ein Wellenlängenband mit den voneinander abweichenden, ausgewählten Wellenlängen der Vielzahl der akusto-optischen Filter aufweist,

dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass: die Abweichungsmittel in verschiedenen entsprechenden Breiten (W1, W2, W3) der optischen Wellenleiter umfasst sind.
Anspruch[en]
An optical wavelength filter (1A, 1B) of band rejection type comprising a plurality of acousto-optic filters (11, 12, 13) each having an optical waveguide and each blocking light of a selected wavelength from passing therethrough by utilizing the acousto-optic effect, said plurality of acousto-optic filters being cascade connected to be in a multi-staged structure, wherein: said acousto-optic filters are adapted to receive RF signals of an identical frequency, and are provided with deviating means arranged such as to deviate the selected wavelengths in the respective acousto-optic filters from each other so that a blocking band having therein a wavelength band containing the mutually deviated selected wavelengths of said plurality of acousto-optic filters is formed, characterized in that: said deviating means are comprised by different respective widths (W1, W2, W3) of the optical waveguides.
Anspruch[fr]
Filtre à longueur d'onde optique (1a, 1B) à élimination de bande comprenant une pluralité de filtres acousto-optiques (11, 12, 13) ayant chacun un guide d'ondes optique et empêchant chacun une lumière ayant une longueur d'onde sélectionnée de passer à l'intérieur en utilisant l'effet acousto-optique, lesdits filtres acousto-optiques étant reliés en cascade afin d'être dans une structure à plusieurs étages, dans lequel : lesdits filtres acousto-optiques sont adaptés afin de recevoir des signaux RF ayant une fréquence identique, et étant munis de moyens de déviation agencés de façon à dévier les longueurs d'onde sélectionnées dans les filtres acousto-optiques respectifs les unes par rapport aux autres de telle sorte que une bande de blocage ayant à l'intérieur une bande de longueur d'onde contenant les longueurs d'onde sélectionnées mutuellement déviées de ladite pluralité de filtres acousto-optiques soit formée, caractérisé en ce que : lesdits moyens de déviation sont constitués par des largeurs respectives différentes (W1, W2, W3) des guides d'onde optiques.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

Anmelder
Datum

Patentrecherche

Patent Zeichnungen (PDF)

Copyright © 2008 Patent-De Alle Rechte vorbehalten. eMail: info@patent-de.com