VITA members recognize the need for higher density, higher performing interconnect technologies to meet the speeds of 10 gigabit serial channels and higher that will be used in next generation critical embedded systems. As the transfer rates continue to increase, it is clear that optical technology offers many advantages. Since optical interconnects work best as a point-to-point connection, future systems are going to need much higher density supporting hundreds of connections in a single board or line-replaceable unit (LRU).
Achieving the projected level of combined performance and connector density is no easy challenge. The lead-time to develop technologies and supporting specifications is very long. To that end, VITA is launching a study group now to research potential technologies and propose an architecture that could become part of future solutions.
The mission of the VITA Architectures for Optical Study Group is to research and determine the feasibility of developing a standard architecture for optical interconnects suitable for deployment in critical embedded systems. The study group will focus on high-density options for backplanes and connections between line-replaceable units, mezzanines, and daughter cards. Critical embedded systems are high-performance, distributed computing systems, and they manage high bandwidth I/O; involve real-time processing; and are environmentally constrained in size, weight, and power (SWaP).
The study group will explore the needs and ascertains the interest in developing a standard. The study group can move to working group status by meeting defined working group formation criteria as defined by the VITA Standards Organization.
Existing standards and those under development by Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs), and appropriate industry alliances, community collaboration efforts, and other groups will be used whenever practical. The Study Group will proactively reach out to such groups to facilitate their early involvement.
Individuals and companies that are interested in participating should contact The VITA executive director, Subject: VITA Architectures for Optical Study Group.
New material will be posted here as discovered by the Study Group.
IGI Group, a Boston-based market research and publishing firm on the fiber optics markets, has several relevant reports.
NEW-HIP Program Advances Avionics Networks, DARPA, January 2011
Pluggable Optical Backplane Technology, Xyratex, 2007
Reconfigurable intelligent optical backplane for parallel computing and communications (requires registering)
Optical Backplanes, Board and Chip Interconnects (requires purchase)
Polymer-Based Optical Waveguides: Materials, Processing, and Devices, Advanced materials, Hong Ma, K.-Y. Jen, and Larry R. Dalton, October 2, 2002
Optical PCB Overview, IBM Research, November 2009
Backplane Architectures Proliferate
New, more effective optical fibers have semiconductive core
IBM Claims Breakthrough in Laser-Based Chips
Intel: Light Peak switches on in 2012
Get on the Optical Bus
Intel’s Optical Breakthrough Downloads an HD Film in a Second …
Intel Turns to Light to Transfer Data Inside PCs
Light without logic, Optical devices are finally going inside computers, but only in parts
Air Force researchers to speed optical interconnect development for chips, boards, and systems
Complex modulation comes to optical fiber
Oclaro supplying VCSELs for Intel's Light Peak optical connectivity platform
Tech Talk: Silicon Photonics - A primer on the pros and cons of using light for
US Patent 7587115 - Integrated functionality in optical backplane: A functional optical device for use in an optical backplane system is provided that includes one or more input fibers, one or more output fibers, and a functional portion configured to operate on an optical input received via the one or more input fibers to provide an optical output via the one or more output fibers. The one or more input fibers and the one or more output fibers of the functional optical device are terminated in a fixed configuration based on a fixed termination layout of at least one group of multiple fibers of an optical backplane interconnect.
US Patent 5937133 - Optical backplanes: It is an object of this invention to provide an optical backplane for the routing and protection of optical fibres and to also provide a method of producing such an optical backplane.
WO/1994/018587 - Optical backplanes: The present invention relates to the implementation of optical backplanes using mass produced optical components and subsystems such as holograms and CD-type laser diodes.
US Patent 6970649 - WDMA free space broadcast technique for optical backplanes and interplanar communications.
Patent application title: An optical connector, a communication system and a method of connecting a user circuit to an optical transceiver.
FlexPlane™ Optical Circuitry, by Molex