PLC splitters are fabricated using semiconductor processes (photolithography, etching, development, etc.).The optical waveguide array is located on the upper surface of the chip, and the branching function is integrated on the chip, that is, a 1-way splitting is achieved on one chip; then, coupled and packaged the multi-channel optical fiber arrays of the input end and the output.
The advantages of PLC splitters compared to melt puller splitters are the following:
1) The loss is insensitive to the wavelength of light and can meet the transmission needs of different wavelengths.
(2) Uniform light distribution and even distribution of signals to users.
(3) Compact structure and small size that can be directly installed in the existing transfer box without leaving a lot of space for installation.
(4) There are many shunt channels for a single device, which can reach more than 32 channels.
(5) Multi-way cost is low, and the more the number of branches, the more obvious the cost advantage.
At the same time, the main disadvantages of PLC splitters are following aspects:
(1) The device manufacturing process is complicated and the technical threshold is high. At present, the chip is monopolized by several foreign companies, and there are few domestic enterprises that can mass-package and produce.
(2) The cost of the PLC splitter is higher than the melt-pulling splitter’s and particularly has disadvantageous in low-channel splitters.