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Proceedings Paper

Advanced optical network architecture for integrated digital avionics
Author(s): D. Reed Morgan
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Paper Abstract

For the first time in the history of avionics, the network designer now has a choice in selecting the media that interconnects the sources and sinks of digital data on aircraft. Electrical designs are already giving way to photonics in application areas where the data rate times distance product is large or where special design requirements such as low weight or EMI considerations are critical. Future digital avionic architectures will increasingly favor the use of photonic interconnects as network data rates of one gigabit/second and higher are needed to support real-time operation of high-speed integrated digital processing. As the cost of optical network building blocks is reduced and as temperature-rugged laser sources are matured, metal interconnects will be forced to retreat to applications spanning shorter and shorter distances. Although the trend is already underway, the widespread use of digital optics will first occur at the system level, where gigabit/second, real-time interconnects between sensors, processors, mass memories and displays separated by a least of few meters will be required. The application of photonic interconnects for inter-printed wiring board signalling across the backplane will eventually find application for gigabit/second applications since signal degradation over copper traces occurs before one gigabit/second and 0.5 meters are reached. For the foreseeable future however, metal interconnects will continue to be used to interconnect devices on printed wiring boards since 5 gigabit/second signals can be sent over metal up to around 15 centimeters. Current-day applications of optical interconnects at the system level are described and a projection of how advanced optical interconnect technology will be driven by the use of high speed integrated digital processing on future aircraft is presented. The recommended advanced network for application in the 2010 time frame is a fiber-based system with a signalling speed of around 2-3 gigabits per second. This switch-based unified network will interconnect sensors, displays, mass memory and controls and displays to computer modules within the processing complex. The characteristics of required building blocks needed for the future are described. These building blocks include the fiber, an optical switch, a laser-based transceiver, blind-mate connectors and an optical backplane.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 December 1996
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 2969, Second International Conference on Optical Information Processing, (27 December 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.262640
Show Author Affiliations
D. Reed Morgan, Air Force Wright Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2969:
Second International Conference on Optical Information Processing
Zhores I. Alferov; Yuri V. Gulyaev; Dennis R. Pape, Editor(s)

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