The objective of this white paper is to show how important and critical optical interconnect is becoming in the development of high-performance embedded systems.
By: Gérald Persaud, VP Business Development and Michel Têtu, Senior Business Development Advisor
For military and aerospace applications, C4ISR (Command, Control, Compute, Communicate, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) is invaluable for almost instantaneous high-end decision making.
The Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance process (ISR) requires the collection and processing of signals generated by a large amount of sensors of various types like active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, high resolution cameras, sonars and so on. Analog signals are digitized and transmitted to a high performance embedded computing unit (HPEC) for data fusion and processing through high bit-rate fiber-optic links. Through deep learning algorithms, actions to be taken are identified and communicated to decisional centers.
HPEC are made of multiple high-speed microprocessors, memory and storage set on electronic boards usually interconnected through copper backplane circuitry. However with the data rate of these interconnects reaching over 10 Gbps, optical interconnects begin to be the preferred choice due to their high bandwidth, high density I/O, low loss, low weight, and immunity against EMI.
Illustration of the relation between the different elements of C4ISR systems (Command, Control, Compute, Communicate, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance).
Learn more on the Space Fence project
US Air Force Space Surveillance Network
Learn more on the BAE ARGUS system
This diagram shows a rough evaluation of electrical power consumption for the connection of a sensor to an embedded computer system. Here we only consider the front-end of each system. Optic interconnect need 2 to 3 times less power than an electrical connection.
Reflex Photonics LightABLE™ family of chip size rugged parallel optic transceivers meet the requirements for harsh environment applications.
480G full duplex I/O. FPGA processors, server cards, and cellular systems.
Micro-coaxial connectors compared to optical MT ferrule connector
Image courtesy of TE Connectivity
Image courtesy of ELMA
VITA 65: Open VPX
VITA 67.3C: VPX: Coaxial & Optical Interconnect,
VITA 76: High Performance Cable Standard
VITA 78: Space VPX Systems
VITA 78.1: Space VPX Lite
VITA 74 VNX: Small Form Factor VPX
For a higher level of integration, Reflex Photonics in collaboration with Amphenol Aerospace, developed the LightCONEX™ optical blind mate connectors where the optical transceiver is directly embedded in the plug-in module connector following ANSI/VITA VPX technology.
VPX board with VITA 46 and LightCONEX plug-in connectors.
ELMA 3U VPX backplane with VITA 46 and LightCONEX connectors.
Close-up of the LightCONEX plug-in module connector.
Close-up of the LightCONEX backplane connector.
Reflex Photonics rugged parallel optic transceivers meet the requirements for harsh environment applications and offer:
Operation under industrial temperature range (-40°C to 85°C) with BER as low as 10−15 delivering 10 Gbps/ch and –12 dBm sensitivity. Less than 5 mm high. Low power consumption 100 mW/ch.
Thousands used in aerospace and defense applications.
Fully qualified following Telcordia GR-468-CORE and MIL-STD-883E standards for severe environmental conditions.
Successful 2500 h Accelerated Life Testing @ 100 °C.
Storage temperature from −57 °C to 125 °C.