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University Of Arizona To Lead PIC-based Cryogenic Datalink Project

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DoD funded project has the potential to advance imaging capabilities for US defence applications, says AIM Photonics

The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics) has announced that the University of Arizona (UA) will lead a major US Department of defence (DoD) project to design, make and test photonic integrated circuit (PIC) data links for cryogenic focal plane arrays (FPAs).

The PICs at the heart of the project will be manufactured in the AIM Photonics silicon photonics fabrication facility at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, New York, and could also lead to fabrication opportunities at AIM Photonics’ Test, Assembly, and Packaging (TAP) facility, which is being built in in Rochester, New York.

The project has $1.2 million DoD funding with an additional $400,000 matching funds and will support a consortium that includes Sandia National Labs, Raytheon (RTN) and other aerospace firms engaged in FPA technology.

According to AIM (a public-private partnership), the project has the potential to strongly advance imaging capabilities for US defence applications.

“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, a professor of optical sciences at the University of Arizona, and principal investigator for the Program.



UA’s extensive experience in cryogenic FPAs and integrated photonics, working in concert with major contractors of the defence industrial base, will target a design and development methodology that provides a common PIC datalink solution across multiple system needs and environments.

“We are proud to partner with the DoD, the University of Arizona, and our industrial members in the development of this critical technology," said Michael Liehr, CEO of AIM Photonics. “The design and development infrastructure we have developed is state-of-the-art, and a key benefit for the team as they create this next integrated photonics technology."

Frank Jaworski, program manager, emerging technology, Raytheon Vision Systems, added, "Raytheon regards the integration of photonic integrated circuits with focal plane arrays as a critical path for the development of future DoD imaging systems vital to the nation’s security. We look forward to the University of Arizona’s leadership of the consortium and utilizing their expertise in developing this key technology."

Neil Supola, chief of the Infrared Focal Plane Array Branch at the Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, and Government program manager for AIM Photonics, noted that: “This program is a great opportunity for the Department of defence to leverage advances in integrated photonics manufacturing being realized by the Manufacturing USA program together with its state, industrial, and academic partners. The scope of industrial participation on this project highlights the relevance photonic integration has within the DoD community, and this project’s inherent potential to make a large impact."


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