Lighting the Path Through Silicon Photonics

Making optical network components smaller for large-scale communication

7 Ratings

Imagine you are accessing a high-performance computer system on a military aircraft, one that receives vital information meant to help inform strategy. With so many systems working together—from those on the aircraft to satellites in space—any delay in the relay of information can be the difference between safety and peril or failure and success in a critical mission.

THE CHALLENGE

Communication networks installed on satellites and avionic platforms require many subsystems. As a vehicle embarks on a mission, it must be prepared to deal with sudden, unexpected changes, adapting quickly to the task at hand. Current iterations of these technologies use large modules composed of fiber, which contribute to the Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) metric, reducing a vehicle’s flexibility to carry a heavier payload. This burden can be alleviated in a major way with EM Photonics’ chip-scale optical communication network.

WHY IT MATTERS

On the battlefield, a delay of only a few seconds in the transmission of pivotal data is significant, compromising both security and strategic advantages. As communication systems require more power and space on vehicles, both the size of payloads and total mission time suffer from the negative consequences of outdated technology. Competitive technologies utilize optical-to-electrical conversion-based optical cross-connects, which limit both the speed of data transfer and reconfiguration speeds.

THE SOLUTION

EM Photonics built upon the strong foundation of silicon photonic devices to design a high-performance optical communication component.

"Chip-scale photonics is crucial for communication on next generation compact military platforms. It offers reconfigurable transmission of high data rates in a compact package." — Mathew Zablocki

HOW IT WORKS

The development of optical cross-connect allows multiple systems to communicate efficiently at high data rates. State-of-the-art semiconductor fabrication reduces size and power requirements for the network. On the inside sits a fully configurable switch array, creating a network that proves to be adaptable from its dynamism.

IMPACT FOR THE FUTURE

The SBIR project helped EM Photonics demonstrate a prototype that defines EM Photonics as a lead developer for the next generation of chip-scale silicon photonic components.

Silicon photonics technology has the ability to bridge the gap from the current state-of-the-art to the next generation of devices needed for embedded networking applications. — Eric Kelmelis, CEO at EM Photonics

EM Photonics

www.emphotonics.com

51 E. Main Street, Suite 203 Newark, DE 19711

EM Photonics develops high-performance computing and simulation systems for image processing, scientific computing, and optical device simulation. We specialize in designing system-level components and software, and realizing the designs in first-concept prototypes.

Matthew Zablocki Matthew Zablocki

Matthew Zablocki

Director of Photonics Applications

James Bonnett James Bonnett

James Bonnett

Senior Engineer

Eric  Kelmelis Eric  Kelmelis

Eric Kelmelis

CEO

TOPIC TITLE:

Satellite Optical Backplane

TOPIC NUMBER:

AF103-097

CONTRACT NUMBER:

FA9453-13-C-0013

For more exciting Air Force launch stories, visit launchstories.org

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