Fiber Optics and Photonics in Aerospace and Automobile Platforms

LightCounting Releases a Research Note on the AVFOP Conference


The first AVFOP conference was held in 2004, due to interest from the U.S. government as well as industry to hold a fiber optics and photonics event focused on avionics. Since then, fiber optics and photonics technologies have seen increasing deployment in military and commercial platforms, due to the significant advantages that fiber offers in terms of data rates, range, reduction in size, weight, and power (SWaP) - as well as immunity to electromagnetic interference. Electro-optic components are now available in a wide frequency range from DC to 100GHz. Fiber optics penetration will continue to grow as data requirements increase with the number of sensors, autonomous controls, and infotainment systems in mobile platforms. The conference presentations over three days in November in New Orleans covered the gamut from solutions to solve radio frequency (RF) challenges, optical component development and electronic-photonic integration - to technologies for application domains such as radar and Lidar.

Some of the specific RF solutions discussed were Photonics to mitigate RF interference, Imaging of the RF environment using coherent optical processing, and Photonics for RF distribution and remoting. Different electronic-photonic integration techniques were described such as Wire bonding, Flip-chip integration, Wafer-scale 3D integration, as well as Monolithic integration. Optical upconverters for simultaneous beam imaging radar, as well as novel architectures that combine the advantages of Flash and Scanning Lidar were presented.

The CEO of the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM) gave an update on AIM’s objective to translate the successes of the electronics industry to the photonics industry, the status of photonic integrated circuit design, and listed High-performance computing, military/aero/scientific, and data centers as the earliest possible adopters of Silicon Photonics - followed by consumer, medical and telecom. In another interesting presentation at the conference, the speaker brought up the heightened interest in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Neuromorphic computing, and how 3D compute chip implementations would be necessary, with all-to-all chip interconnect through optical wavelength routing.

The AVFOP conference offered a rare opportunity to hear about advanced research and innovations happening in government and defense, and to chat one-on-one with scientists and developers.

Innovations in these application areas often become commercially available technology, after they have been optimized for lower cost and mass-manufacturing. Government organizations such as DARPA were responsible for creating the first network of computers (ARPANET) that eventually led to today’s Internet and World Wide Web, for developing the TRANSIT satellite navigation system which was a predecessor to today’s GPS, and for decades of investment in robotics that is emerging today in technologies for autonomous vehicles. These innovations have changed the way we communicate, travel, and work.

LightCounting will take a deeper look at topics such as sensing and Lidar in 2018, and will offer market intelligence for companies looking to invest in these areas.

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LightCounting is a leading optical communications market research company, offering semiannual market updates, forecasts, and state-of-the-industry reports based on its analysis of primary research with dozens of leading module, component, and system vendors as well as service providers and other users. LightCounting is the optical communications market’s first choice source for the accurate, detailed, and relevant information necessary for doing business in today’s highly competitive environment. For more information, visit: or follow us on Twitter at @LightCounting.