A 160 Gigabit/sec Fiber Optic Receiver Array

Period of Performance: 01/10/2001 - 09/10/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sensors Unlimited, Inc.
3490 Route 1, Building 12
Princeton, NJ 08540
Principal Investigator


Sensors Unlimited will develop and deliver a 16-channel optical receiver array for use in wavelength division multiplexed optical networks. The receivers will consist of monolithic InGaAs photodiode arrays hybridized to monolithic GaAs transimpedance amplifier arrays. The receivers will be designed to operate at 10 Gbps/channel, resulting in an aggregate data rate of 160 Gbps for a 16-channel receiver. The use of InGaAs photodiodes will result in responsivities > 0.9 A/W at 1.55 µm, with bandwidths exceeding 10 GHz. The GaAs transimpedance amplifiers will be fabricated using a commercial GaAs foundry process on a 250 µm amplifier pitch. Thus, the amplifiers may be wirebonded to the photodiodes without incorporating a microwave fanout. Additionally, the 250 µm pitch enables relatively simple mating to commercially available 250 µm pitch singlemode fiber ribbon cable. Challenges of the program include the elimination of crosstalk among the channels of the receiver array, and the design and fabrication of the transimpedance amplifier array. The InGaAs photodiode arrays will be fabricated using Sensors Unlimited's standard backside illuminated focal plane array process with 30 µm diameter photodiodes.The bandwidth requirements for the Internet double every 4 months. Higher data rates and channel counts are required for optical networks to keep up with this demand. Our marketing studies predict a 1st year market of $10 million, rising to over $100 million in 3 years, after commercial introduction of a 160 Gbps receiver array. Furthermore, the size and weight of the array-based components are greatly reduced, increasing the feasibility of their use in military communications systems. Multiple channel receivers enable link redundancy, in addition to providing very wide (10 Gbps) bandwidth data links. Commercial applications for the receiver array include O-E conversion in optical cross connects, high bit rate parallel optic data links, and replacement and sparing for currently fielded optical receivers. The proposed receiver will reduce cost and space requirements over 10x when brought to market.