XPM- and XGM-based optical RAM memories: Frequency and time domain theoretical analysis

Christos Vagionas, Dimitrios Fitsios, Konstantinos Vyrsokinos, George Theodore Kanellos, Amalia Miliou, Nikos Pleros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate a frequency and time domain analysis for optical random access memory (RAM) cells that rely on semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA)-based switches but employ different switching mechanisms. The first RAM cell utilizes SOA cross gain modulation (XGM) switches both for the access gate as well as latching mechanism, whereas the second RAM cell configuration utilizes SOA-Mach-Zehnder interferometer cross phase modulation (XPM) switches. The frequency domain analysis exploits first-order perturbation theory approximations towards deriving the RAM cell frequency response, which is shown to exhibit in both RAM cell layouts a comb like resonant behavior. The free spectral range is dictated by the coupling length between the coupled switches that form the latching element, whereas the finesse depends on the temporal response of the switching mechanism employed. The qualitative speed and signal quality results obtained in the frequency domain are confirmed by a respective time-domain analysis carried out for both RAM cell layouts, using an experimentally validated time-domain SOA simulation model that relies on the transfer matrix method. Performance analysis in the time domain reveals in addition important quantitative RAM output signal measures like the extinction ratio and its dependence on the coupling length and the operational speed, as well as the input power dynamic range for successful RAM operation. Our holistic frequency- and time-domain analysis framework provides an in-depth understanding of performance-critical design parameters and their relationship to expected RAM cell performance characteristics. This is then utilized for a one-by-one system level comparison between the two RAM cell layouts in terms of readout extinction ratio, maximum speed, footprint, and power consumption concluding that the SOA-XGM-based RAM cell offers certain advantages when operational speeds not higher than 10 Gb/s are targeted, and the SOA-XPM-based RAM cell setup dominating when higher RAM serial speeds even up to 40 GHz are targeted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6828730
Pages (from-to)683-697
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Cross gain modulation
  • cross phase modulation
  • optical flip-flop
  • optical memories
  • optical RAM
  • optical switching
  • perturbation theory
  • semiconductor optical amplifier
  • transfer function
  • transfer matrix method


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