Integrated Magneto-Optical Devices for On-Chip Photonic Systems

The magneto-optical (MO) oxide layer consists of (Bi,Y)3Fe5O12 or BiYIG, bismuth garnet. This material was selected because it has a better figure of merit than the CeYIG previously used, especially at lower wavelengths (1310 nm vs. 1550 nm). A top-down deposition process was developed in which BiYIG/YIG stacks are grown on the Si waveguide with YIG on top. The stack is annealed at 800°C/5 min to crystallize both layers, with the YIG templating the BiYIG leading to garnet phases rather than other oxides, and the BiYIG is directly on the Si waveguide. Initial attempts led to a film with Bi oxide phases, because the Bi was in excess and could not escape during the anneal as occurs in Si/YIG/BiYIG stacks. Hence the composition was adjusted to include slightly more Fe, which yielded films with only garnet peaks.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs

Low Power Optical Phase Array Using Graphene on Silicon Photonics

Despite enormous advances in integrated photonics over the last decade, an efficient integrated phase delay remains to be demonstrated. This problem is fundamental – most monolithic thin film deposition relies on centro symmetric materials (such as silicon, silicon dioxide, silicon nitride), which by definition do not have an electro-optic effect. Such materials have been shown to be excellent transparent materials, however they are either optically passive, or rely on very small plasma dispersion effect or power-hungry thermo-optic effect for tunability. These phase change materials have losses associated due to heating or carrier injection in the waveguides. This research shows that graphene can be used to provide electro-optic properties to traditionally passive optical materials.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Materials, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics

Ultracompact, High-Speed Field-Effect Optical Modulators

The major goals of this research project included two parts. First, an ultracompact plasmonic electro-optical (EO) modulator was to be developed and investigated for efficient intensity modulation. Second, an ultracompact and high-speed EO modulator based on a dielectric platform was to be developed for straightforward integration with existing CMOS technology. Both modulators were targeted to facilitate next-generation interconnects for integrated photonic circuits.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs

Combating Infrared Threats on the Battlefield

There have been several news headlines lately about offenders pointing commercial lasers at helicopters or police personnel, temporarily blinding and distracting them. An increasing number of “laser assault” incidents have led to tougher penalties with fines and jail time in various countries. The lasers typically used in these attacks operate in the visible light spectrum; therefore, these lasers can be blocked by special absorbing optical dyes contained in special laser defense eyewear.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Sensors

Optical Interconnect Design Challenges in Space

More and more aerospace applications are incorporating fiber optics technology into their designs due to its many advantages over copper. The thinner fiber solutions provide higher speed over a longer distance, are more reliable, offer higher noise immunity and, in many cases, lower the cost of ownership. Additionally, for the same diameter, fiber can pack more data than copper. Fiber is faster than the category 5 and 6 copper cables, approaching the speed of light (31% lower). For copper, pushing the speed beyond 1G is a challenge, but for fiber 10G is quite common. Copper is limited by distance. Usually, signal degradation with copper will occur after about 90 meters (2.7 km maximum for custom systems), while fiber can achieve more than 1.5 km without a problem and can deliver over 80 km depending on transmission signal quality.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, Fiber Optics, Optical Components, Optics

Spatial Resolution and Contrast of a Focused Diffractive Plenoptic Camera

The concept of an imaging system that captures both spatial and spectral information has existed for a while. An example of one such imaging system that encodes both location and wavelength into an image is a Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS).

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Cameras, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics

Laser-Based System Could Expand Space-to-Ground Communication

A new research project announced recently as a collaboration between the Georgia Institute of Technology and satellite communications provider Xenesis could help open the bottleneck that now limits the flow of data from Earth-orbiting satellites to ground stations.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Data Acquisition, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Data Acquisition

Optical Seeker for Munitions Systems

BAE Systems
Nashua, NH

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, has awarded BAE Systems a $13.1 million contract to demonstrate a new, cost-effective optical seeker for precision-guided munitions. The seeker is designed to improve navigation, as well as automate target location and homing, for different types of munitions that are used in GPS-denied and other contested environments.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Propulsion, Automation

Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System

AeroVironment, Inc.
Monrovia, CA

AeroVironment, Inc., a specialist in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for both defense and commercial applications, and ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH, a system and software house in Germany for development and service, recently announced that the German Navy has acquired the AeroVironment Puma™ maritime unmanned aircraft system. The Puma systems will include the Mantis i45 sensor and pocket Remote Video Terminal (p/RVT). AeroVironment partnered with ESG to satisfy the requirement of the Bundesamt fur Ausrustung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) for an urgent operational requirement.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aeronautics, Aviation, Defense, Cameras, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics, Data Acquisition, Sensors

Taming the Thermal Behavior of Solid-State Military Lasers

Laser diodes and laser diode arrays (LDAs) are widely used throughout military systems, for sighting and range finding, but also at high power levels as offensive and defensive weapons. In companion with much higher-power chemical lasers, these high-power optical sources can generate kilowatts of optical power (as arrays) for use in neutralizing incoming missiles, rockets, and armaments and for long-distance offensive strikes. But laser diodes are also still inefficient, and a great deal of the energy supplied to a laser diode or an LDA is converted into heat, which must be safely dissipated to ensure a long operating lifetime for the solid-state devices.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Thermal Management, Ceramics, Materials, Metals, Packaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs