Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Computer and Security Science


Health, Engineering and Science

First Advisor

Professor Kamal Alameh


The demand for optical power splitters is growing globally, due to the rapid deployment of fibre-to-the-premises, optical metropolitan area network (MAN), and active optical cables for TV/Video signal transport. Optical splitters play an important role in passive optical network (PON) technology by enabling several hundred users to share one optical line terminal. However, current PONs, which use fixed optical power splitters, have limited reconfigurability particularly in adding/dropping users to/from an optical network unit.

An adaptive optical power splitter (OPS) can dynamically reallocate the opticalpower in the entire network according to the real-time distribution of users and services, thus providing numerous advantages such as improve an optical network efficiency, scalability, and reliability. An adaptive OPS is also important for realizing self-healing ring-to-ring optical MAN, thus offering automatic communication recovery when line break occurs. In addition, future optical line protection systems will require adaptive optical splitters to switch optical signals from faulty lines to active power lines, avoid the use of optical attenuators and/or amplifiers, and achieve real time line monitoring. An adaptive OPS can also be incorporated in tunable optical dispersion compensators, optical attenuator and optical gain equalizer, and reconfigurable optical switches.

This thesis proposes and demonstrates the principle of a novel Opto-VLSI-based adaptive optical splitter/combiner for next generation dynamic optical telecommunication networks. The proposed splitter structure enables an input optical power to be split adaptively into a larger number of output fibre ports, through optimized phase holograms driving the Opto-VLSI processor. The new adaptive optical splitter has additional advantages including lossless operation, adequate inter-port crosstalk, compressed hardware and simple user interface.

This thesis demonstrates, in particular, the concept of an adaptive optical power splitter employing an Opto-VLSI processor and a 4-f imaging system experimentally in three stages as follow: (i) a 1×2 adaptive optical power splitter based on an Opto-VLSI processor, a fibre collimator array and 4-f imaging systems (single lens), (ii) a 1×4 adaptive optical power splitter based on an Opto-VLSI processor, a fibre array and 4-f imaging systems (single lens), and (iii) a 1×N lossless adaptive optical power splitter structure integrating an Opto-VLSI processor, optical amplifiers, a fibre array, and an array of 4-f imaging systems (lens array). The thesis also demonstrates the concept of an adaptive optical signal combiner which enables multiple signals to be combined with user-defined weight profiles into a single fibre port.

Experimental results demonstrate that an input optical signal can arbitrarily be split into N signals and coupled into optical fibre ports by uploading optimized multicasting phase holograms onto the Opto-VLSI processor. They also demonstrate that N input optical signals can be dynamically combined with arbitrary weights into a single optical fibre port. Excellent agreement between theoretical and experimental results is demonstrated. The total insertion loss of the optical power splitter is only 5 dB. Results also show that the optical amplifiers can compensate for the insertion and splitting losses, thus enabling lossless splitter operation. A crosstalk level around -25 dB and a wavelength spectral range exceeding 40 nm is experimentally realized.

In addition, a novel broadband adaptive RF power splitter/combiner based on Opto-VLSI processor is proposed and experimentally demonstrated. By uploading optimized multicasting phase holograms onto the software-driven Opto-VLSI processor, the input RF signal is dynamically split and directed to different output ports, with userdefined splitting ratios. Also, multiple input RF signals can be dynamically combined with arbitrary user-defined weights. As a proof-of-concept demonstration, two input RF signals are dynamically combined with different user-defined weight profiles.

We also propose and demonstrate a photonic microwave filter based on the use of an Opto-VLSI-based adaptive optical combiner. The experimental results demonstrate that the developed Opto-VLSI-based adaptive optical combiner can dynamically route multiple input optical signals to a single output, with user-defined weight profiles, thus realising a tunable microwave filter.

Overall this Opto-VLSI-based adaptive optical power splitter should allow as many as 32 output ports to be supported while achieving high splitting resolution and dynamic range. This will greatly enhance the efficiency of optical communication networks.