10 August 2017
AIM Photonics selects University of Arizona for industrial demo of integrated photonic cryogenic datalink for focal plane arrays
The Rochester, NY-based consortium AIM Photonics (American Institute for Manufacturing Photonics) - an industry-driven public-private partnership advancing the USA’s photonics manufacturing capabilities - has announced the winner of a proposal call for a new Defense Department Government Directed Project for photonic integrated circuit (PIC) data links for cryogenic focal plane arrays (FPAs).
The $1,200,000 US Department of Defense (DoD) project, along with an additional $400,000 in matching funds from a team led by the University of Arizona (UA), will support a consortium that includes Sandia National Labs, Raytheon (RTN) and other aerospace firms engaged in FPA technology.
The project will encompass the design, fabrication and test of cryogenic PIC-based datalinks for FPA readout and has the potential to strongly advance imaging capabilities for national defense applications. Capitalizing on the national reach and capabilities of this consortium, the PICs will be manufactured in the AIM Photonics silicon photonics fabrication facility at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, NY, and could also lead to fabrication opportunities at AIM Photonics’ Test, Assembly, and Packaging (TAP) facility, which is being built in in Rochester, NY.
“When you consider the rapid pace of growth in both the FPA size and the required data rates, conventional electronic readouts become limited because they are both a heat source and a communication bottleneck,” says Dr Robert Norwood, a Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, and principal investigator for the program.
The University of Arizon’s extensive experience in cryogenic FPAs and integrated photonics, working in concert with major contractors of the defense industrial base, will target a design and development methodology that provides a common PIC datalink solution across multiple system needs and environments.
“The design and development infrastructure we have developed is state-of-the-art, and a key benefit for the team as they create this next integrated photonics technology,” says AIM Photonics’ CEO Michael Liehr Ph.D.
“Raytheon regards the integration of photonic integrated circuits with focal plane arrays as a critical path for the development of future DoD imaging systems vital to the nation’s security,” comments Dr Frank Jaworski, program manager, Emerging Technology, at Raytheon Vision Systems.
“This program is a great opportunity for the Department of Defense to leverage advances in integrated photonics manufacturing being realized by the Manufacturing USA program together with its state, industrial, and academic partners,” notes Neil Supola, chief of the Infrared Focal Plane Array Branch at the Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, and government program manager for AIM Photonics. “The scope of industrial participation on this project highlights the relevance photonic integration has within the DoD community, and this project’s inherent potential to make a large impact.”