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International Journal of Optics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 575429, 25 pages
Review Article

Review of Robust Data Exchange Using Optical Nonlinearities

1Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics, College of Optoelectronic Science and Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hubei, Wuhan 430074, China
2Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

Received 13 July 2011; Accepted 4 November 2011

Academic Editor: Giulio Cerullo

Copyright © 2012 Jian Wang and Alan E. Willner. 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.


Data exchange, namely bidirectional information swapping, provides enhanced flexibility compared to the unidirectional information transfer. To fulfill the rapid development of high-speed large-capacity optical communications with emerging multiplexing/demultiplexing techniques and advanced modulation formats, a laudable goal would be to achieve data exchange in different degrees of freedom (wavelength, time, polarization), for different modulation formats (OOK, DPSK, DQPSK, pol-muxed), and at different granularities (entire data, groups of bits, tributary channels). Optical nonlinearities are potentially suitable candidates to enable data exchange in the wavelength, time, and polarization domains. In this paper, we will review our recent works towards robust data exchange by exploiting miscellaneous optical nonlinearities, including the use of cSFG/DFG in a PPLN waveguide for time- (groups of bits) and channel-selective data exchange and tributary channel exchange between two WDM+OTDM signals, nondegenerate FWM in an HNLF for phase-transparent data exchange (DPSK, DQPSK), bidirectional degenerate FWM in an HNLF for multi-channel data exchange, and Kerr-induced nonlinear polarization rotation in an HNLF for tributary channel exchange of a pol-muxed DPSK OTDM signal. The demonstrated data exchanges in different degrees of freedom, for different modulation formats, and at different granularities, open the door for alternative approaches to achieve superior network performance.