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Advances in OptoElectronics
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 627802, 15 pages
Review Article

Reconfigurable Integrated Optoelectronics

Sensors Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA 0731, USA

Received 26 November 2010; Accepted 2 March 2011

Academic Editor: Lucimara Roman

Copyright © 2011 Richard Soref. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Integrated optics today is based upon chips of Si and InP. The future of this chip industry is probably contained in the thrust towards optoelectronic integrated circuits (OEICs) and photonic integrated circuits (PICs) manufactured in a high-volume foundry. We believe that reconfigurable OEICs and PICs, known as ROEICs and RPICs, constitute the ultimate embodiment of integrated photonics. This paper shows that any ROEIC-on-a-chip can be decomposed into photonic modules, some of them fixed and some of them changeable in function. Reconfiguration is provided by electrical control signals to the electro-optical building blocks. We illustrate these modules in detail and discuss 3D ROEIC chips for the highest-performance signal processing. We present examples of our module theory for RPIC optical lattice filters already constructed, and we propose new ROEICs for directed optical logic, large-scale matrix switching, and 2D beamsteering of a phased-array microwave antenna. In general, large-scale-integrated ROEICs will enable significant applications in computing, quantum computing, communications, learning, imaging, telepresence, sensing, RF/microwave photonics, information storage, cryptography, and data mining.