Optoelectronics II

Phase 2 of the HDP optoelectronic is a demonstrator.  The project is designed to show the trends in bandwidth and speed may be implemented in an electro/optical environment. Several different waveguide technologies are evaluated in the project, using a prototype system level demonstration vehicle. The demonstrator has physical attributes found in today’s systems such as: routers, switches, and storage systems. Its’ design relies on photonic components to solve many limitations of electrical interfaces.

The channels are a mix of polymer waveguides and fibers to enable high bandwidth per link at speeds exceeding 40  Gb/s per channel. The pseudo system is composed of  line cards that will be inserted into a  “slot chassis” type of architecture to mimic today’s systems. These line cards are interconnected using optical links and transmit and receive high bandwidth and high speed signals through an optical backplane.

Project stage: 
Project type: 
Lead company: 
TTM Technologies
 If you are interested in participating in this project:
 Members - Go to the "Subscribe Here" section to the right and select the "Subscribe to space" key.
 Non Members - Go to the "Contact" section to the right and select the "Contact project facilitator" key. 

Idea Information


 Optical data transfer has revolutionized long haul information and communication technology. Optical data transfer in general is highly superior to electrical data transfer with respect to data rate, transmission distance, bandwidth-length product, electromagnetic interference resistance, and weight. 

In the near future, the cost of electronic interconnect will exceed the cost of optical interconnect, and optical interconnect will be the preferred solution for short-range interconnect (rack-to-rack, backplane, inter-board, and even inter-chip). 

There are numerous estimates of how far copper can be pushed to increase data rates. The estimates range from 2.5 Gb/s to 40 Gb/s.  

One question is, can this superior data transfer technology be incorporated into a backplane PWB and its supporting daughter cards?  


 Although optical PCB technology has been researched for years, some related technologies are still not mature. Some problems still to be resolved are:

 Waveguide fabrication at production scale

    • Optical PCB fabrication
    • Optical coupling (such as device-board and board-to-backplane)
    • Assembly of optical components
    • Optoelectronic devices in standard ”IC-like” packages used in optical PCB
    • Reliability (waveguide, connector, OE device, packaging materials, and system-level qualification)
    • Test vehicles…
    • Testing methods, equipments and applied standards  

These obstacles need to be removed before optical PCB technology can be successfully applied in industry. 


The below diagram is a conceptual concept of a backplane and attached line cards


Definition Information

Goals / Benefits: 
  •  Demonstrate both non-orthogonal and orthogonal optical solutions similar to existing electrical backplane
  • Demonstrate the ability to plug modules into opto backplane
  •  Demonstrate link length : > 30cm
  •  Demonstrate short waveguides between ICs / long waveguides through a backplane The HDP Optoelectronics Phase 1 project, investigated separate waveguide geometries in isolation i.e. just bends, just crossovers. In real routing applications most waveguides will comprise a combination of different waveguide components e.g. non-orthogonal crossing on a bend, staggered cascading bends with different RoCs depending on what obstacles need to be circumnavigated  

 The system will be used to demonstrate the power of optical integrated components and channels and the set of challenges that need to be solved to put such systems on the market. The data that will be generated will serve as first in the industry to create such a fully integrated optical system with all advanced components.


High level objectives: 


  • To build a working “demonstrator” using traditional communication technology architecture, “backplanes”, “Line cards”, “switch cards”, etc

  • To evaluate several types of optical channels to reflect the flexibility and density needed for high density system-like architecture. Waveguide technology, includes glass, polymer or other.

  • To evaluate different Tx/Rx engine technologies

  • Optical connectors will be used to demonstrate the termination of waveguides and fibers, interconnect between linecards and backplane, and interconnect between the transceivers and the related linecards.

  • Hybrid RF and optical connectors will be used to demonstrate the scalability and flexibility.

  • To publish a report to the HDP membership with the results of the project.



A designed test vehicle (Backplane with line and switch cards.


All testing will be completed by the team members

Testing will include both passive  and active analysis

Flow Chart

Key Participants: 
Elite Material Co. EMC
Hitachi Chemical
Isola Group
Nihon Superior
Rogers Corporation
TTM Technologies
Seagate (Non-Member)