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High-Speed Electronically Tunable Fiber Optic Wavelength Filter


OBJECTIVE: Develop a high-speed, loss-free, electronically controlled tunable fiber-optic filter for avionic wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) applications. DESCRIPTION: Reducing weight and space is a major concern of the avionic environment. One approach to reducing weight and size (as well as increasing system bandwidth and connectivity) is to replace the current system of numerous point-to-point links with a robust fiber-optic WDM network. WDM is a routing method whereby several data streams are multiplexed and transmitted over the same optical fiber cable. After transmission over fiber, the wavelengths are de-multiplexed and sent to different receivers . A high-speed tunable filter could be used to select across all wavelengths, retrieving and routing the data to specific receivers based on the tuning frequency of the filter. A wide range of tunable filters has been developed, however current tuning mechanisms, including thermal and mechanical stress , are limited to millisecond range tuning speeds. For avionic applications, the tunable filter must operate from -40 to +100degreesC and tuning speed must be 1 microsecond or less across the C-band of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) wavelength grid. With a microsecond switching speed , tunable filters could also be used as a routing element to control network traffic. PHASE I: Develop an innovative tunable filter concept. Demonstrate the feasibility of the design via modeling and simulation. PHASE II: Demonstrate the operation of a prototype tunable filter over a -40 to 100degreesC temperature range. Design and optimize the tunable filter package and tuning/control circuits. PHASE III: Conduct environmental testing for tunable wavelength filter. Develop plan for mass production and transition into a WDM network for Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Large-scale WDM networks are used by communication companies for high-bandwidth applications such as Fiber to the Home or Fiber to the Office.
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