Thick Film Waveguide for Data Communications
Small Business Information
3921 Academy Parkway North, NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109
Douglas Taylor. Ph.D
President & CEO
President & CEO
AbstractControl and guidance of modern missiles requires control signals from the guidance system be passed to the nozzle gimbal and other control surfaces. Because the guidance system and payload are typically located in the missile nose cone, a communicationsbus must run the length of the missile casing. Often this bus is a conduit within the wound case, through which copper cables are run. The current approach is expensive and problematic. MDA is looking to replace the copper wiring with a fiber-opticsolution. TPL proposes waveguides which are produced by laying a thick film over a substrate and then sintering by laser irradiation. This solution offers several advantages over simply embedding a fiber-optic cable in the case windings: (1) The semi-rigidsubstrate will buffer the forces applied to the waveguide during case pressurization. This will protect the waveguide and reduce microbending forces, thereby increasing the maximum data rate. (2) The connectors, substrate and waveguide can all bemechanically integrated into a single component. (3) The semi-rigid assembly can be affixed to the case with reasonable simplicity during the winding process. The waveguide properties will be evaluated to determine size, roughness and other typical parameters affecting data rate. Thick-film, laser-writable waveguides offer a path to improving reliability and reducing the cost of the data link in missiles. This same technology also has applications as a
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