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"Alignment tolerant" interconnect lowers packaging costs

17 Jun 2002

Packaging is a critical factor which affects cost in optoelectronic systems. Currently, submicron tolerances on optical fiber and optical free space components are common, resulting in expensive manufacturing costs. The design of alignment tolerant optoelectronic systems can significantly reduce the overall cost of the system by relaxing the packaging tolerances.

Building on research supported by Georgia Tech's Manufacturing Research Center on an alignment tolerant optical interconnect for automotive, avionic, and communications applications, a multi-disciplinary team from the PRC System Integration and Low Cost Optoelectronics thrust areas, consisting of Drs. Nan Marie Jokerst, D. Scott Wills, Martin A. Brooke, Mary Ann Ingram, and April S. Brown, have collaborated on a scheme to increase the alignment tolerance of optoelectronic systems through the use of silicon electronics for "smart" optoelectronic interconnect.

The alignment tolerance of the optical package can be optimized by understanding and utilizing the trade-offs which occur in link speed, emitter/detector design and wavelength, interconnection media (plastic versus glass fiber and core diameter), optical loss, amplifier gain, and error correction coding. This technology offers several advantages over wire-based interconnect including reduced EMI emission and susceptibility, weight, size, operating power, and improved design flexibility.

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