AIM Photonics selects University of Arizona to demo PIC cryogenic data link for FPAs

The $1.6M project will support a consortium that includes Sandia National Labs, Raytheon, and other aerospace firms.

The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics) has named the University of Arizona (UA) the winner of a proposal call for a new Department of Defense (DoD) Government Directed Project for photonic integrated circuit (PIC) data links for cryogenic focal plane arrays (FPAs). The $1,200,000 project, along with an additional $400,000 in matching funds from a team led by UA, will support a consortium that includes Sandia National Labs, Raytheon, and other aerospace firms engaged in FPA technology.

The project encompasses the design, fabrication, and test of cryogenic PIC-based data links for FPA readout and has the potential to significantly advance imaging capabilities for defense applications. Capitalizing on the national reach and capabilities of the consortium, the PICs will be manufactured in the AIM Photonics silicon photonics fabrication facility at SUNY Polytechnic Institute (Albany, NY), and could also lead to fabrication opportunities at AIM Photonics’ Test, Assembly, and Packaging (TAP) facility, which is being built 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 Robert Norwood, professor of optical sciences at UA, and Principal Investigator for the Program.

UA’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 data link solution across multiple system needs and environments.

Frank Jaworski, Program Manager, Emerging Technology, Raytheon Vision Systems, noted, "Raytheon regards the integration of PICs with FPAs as a critical path for the development of future DoD imaging systems vital to the nation’s security."

Source: AIM Photonics

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