About Project SPRINTER:
One of the bottlenecks of industrial networks is the slow transfer of information between its sensors, processors, and motors. Industrial machines often cannot rely on cables and fibers for data transmission, as they require high mobility and spatial freedom to operate smoothly. In the case of industrial robots, complete freedom to move around factory floors is required. Optical networks have the potential to address these problems by creating entirely wireless high-speed and high-capacity networks. SPRINTER will combine the best-of-breed optical components and methods from various powerful but complementary photonic integration platforms to develop a set of low-cost, energy-efficient, and ultra-dynamic optical transceivers and optical switching solutions to cope with the diverse needs of the industrial networks and expedite their truly digital transformation.
Within SPRINTER low-cost and energy-efficient 200 Gb/s optical transceivers, supporting high-capacity connectivity, will be developed. Additionally, SPRINTER will provide ultra-fast wavelength-tunable 10 Gb/s optical transceivers, enabling the development of an all-optical switching system, guaranteeing the reliability and time determinism required for time critical communication. In addition, leveraging well-proven integration techniques that allow for the fabrication of complex 3D photonic integrated circuits, the project will develop a disruptive reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer, optimized for operation within space-division multiplexing networks, assisting on the reduction of data congestion in communication systems and preventing the data loss and delay in data delivery.
Considering the ultra-dynamic nature of the industrial networks due to the deployment of remote nodes, SPRINTER will provide a set of groundbreaking photonics-enabled transceivers supporting wireless connectivity by means of a free-space optical or a mmWave channel. The transceivers will be able to operate reliably in both indoor and outdoor environments thanks to the complementary characteristics of the two channels. Moreover, the project will develop a unified network platform, providing the required methods and tools to support time-deterministic operation, and enable real-time communication with guaranteed service quality.
Artistic renders of two ultra-fast tunable 10 Gb/s optical transceivers. On the left (a) is a module which will use a lithium niobate (LNOI) Mach-Zehnder modulator (MZM). On the right (b) is the same module, redesigned to use an indium phosphide (InP) MZM.
The Role of LioniX International:
We will be responsible for the design and fabrication of all TriPleX® chips used in the project. Those will include external cavities for InP-powered lasers, which will be specifically designed for low-loss coupling to other chips in the assemblies through appropriate spot size converters. We will also design a 1×16 optical beamforming network, equipped with our stress-optic PZT actuators, with side-band filters and carrier-insertion stages. This will enable MHz-range fast beam steering. We will help our partners in the project align their chip designs with ours, such that optical losses are minimized across the board.
To read more about SPRINTER, please visit the project website.