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Mems-Based, Reconfigurable, Fault-Tolerant Optical Backplan

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Missile Defense Agency
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 40261
Amount: $65,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 1998
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
4041 Forest Park Blvd., St. Louis, MO, 63108
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Krchnavek
 () -
Business Contact
 Paul Min
Phone: () -
Research Institution
 Washington University
 Cynthia White 
 One Brookings Dr.
St. Louis, MO, 63130
 Nonprofit college or university
Backplanes are key building blocks around which larger electronic systems are often implemented. They are designed so that the insertion of application derived function boards can use backplane paths for board-to-board communication. As systems grow, requiring more, higher-bandwidth paths, electronic backplanes are becoming inadequate and, for example, pin limitations have become a severe design constraint. MinMAX Technologies and Washington University propose to develop an optical backplane with capabilities for dynamic switching of optical paths. Such a backplane will relieve bandwidth and pin constraints. Additionally, by providing for switching of the optical paths, system reliability and availability can be enhanced and dynamic load balancing techniques can be utilized. Phase I will focus primarily on the design, fabrication and testing of a critical backplane component, a MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) optical switch. Under electrical control, this component will permit the switching of an input optical fiber to one of two output fibers. A complete optical path including the MEMS switch will also be tested and evaluated. Additionally, we will develop an applications-driven optical backplane design methodology. As time permits, specification of a set of CAD tools to aid in the design process will be undertaken.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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