Memory Speed Analysis of Optical RAM and Optical Flip-Flop Circuits Based on Coupled SOA-MZI Gates


We demonstrate analytical frequency-domain transfer function expressions for an optical random access memory (RAM) cell that employs two SOA-based ON/OFF switches and two coupled SOA-MZI gates forming an optical flip-flop. Our theoretical model relies on first-order perturbation theory approximations applied for the first time to coupled optical switching structures, resulting to an optical RAM cell frequency response that allows for a qualitative and quantitative analysis of optical RAM memory speed and performance characteristics and their dependence on certain RAM cell device parameters. We show that the transfer function of an optical RAM cell and its incorporated flip-flop device exhibits periodic resonance frequencies resembling the behavior of optical ring resonator configurations. Its free spectral range is mainly dictated by the length of the waveguide that enables the coupling of the two SOA-MZI gates, yielding this coupling length as the dominant memory speed determining factor. The obtained results are in close agreement with experimental observations, demonstrating that optimized RAM cell designs with waveguide coupling lengths lower than 5 mm can enable RAM operation at memory speeds well beyond 40 GHz.

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