With these two hybrid devices, namely ADC-Hybrid and DAC-Hybrid, analogue and digital functions and signal processing can be decentralised from each other to most optimised locations inside a satellite. This will also minimise the need for analogue data transfer.
In addition to the high data rate, benefits of fibre optic links are their reduced weight, galvanic isolation, spark immunity and tolerance against electromagnetic interference.
The project utilised LTCC-technology for hybrid modules and created a concepts for opto-electronic VCSEL-transmitter and photodiode receiver sub-assemblies combined with optical fibre cables.
Combined with the results of another related ESA Study on “Optical Interboard Interconnects for High Throughput On Board Processors” (“OI2”), primed by Thales Alenia, a good confidence on the feasibility of the concept was gained. Main challenges are in controlling the high frequencies and making efficient and reliable connections for the optoelectronic components (VCSEL & photodiode) and the optical fibre.
Recommended continuation activities are making use of all components as dies in flip-chip format and further improving the production process of opto-electronic sub-assemblies (Tx/Rx).