Phase 2 of the HDP optoelectronic will demonstrate how the trends in bandwidth and speed to design for next generation systems will be fulfilled through optical waveguide technology. Phase 2 will bring a practical perspective to optoelectronics by building a prototype system level demonstration vehicle . This pseudo system will have physical attributes found in today’s systems such as: routers, switches, and storage systems. Its’ design will rely on photonic components to solve many limitations of electrical interfaces. The channels will be a mix of polymer waveguides and fibers to enable high bandwidth per link at speeds exceeding 50 Gb/s per channel. The pseudo system will be composed of linecards that will be inserted into a “slot chassis” type of architecture to mimic today’s systems. These linecards will be interconnected using optical links and transmit and receive high bandwidth and high speed signals through an optical backplane.
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
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
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