UA Researchers to Design New Cryogenic Focal Plane Arrays

The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), a public-private partnership advancing the nation’s photonics manufacturing capabilities, has chosen a University of Arizona research team to design, fabricate and test new PIC-based datalinks for cryogenic focal plane array (FPA) readout. The project, according to AIM Photonics, has the potential to strongly advance imaging capabilities for national defense 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 Dr. Robert Norwood, a professor of optical sciences at the University of Arizona and principal investigator for the program. He says the UA-led team 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,” says Dr. 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.”

The project includes $1,200,000 in funding from the US Department of Defense (DoD) and $400,000 from the university. It will support a consortium that includes Sandia National Labs, Raytheon and other aerospace firms engaged in FPA technology. The PICs will be manufactured in the AIM Photonics silicon photonics fabrication facility at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany NY, and could also lead to fabrication opportunities at AIM Photonics’ TAP (test, assembly and packaging) facility, under construction in Rochester.