Summary 500 words
Vendors of optical data communication components and systems are working to develop a variety of new products to serve the needs of commercial markets. These emerging products efficiently package arrays of transmitters and receivers with multiple channels operating at rates up to 10 Gbps per channel. These developments provide an opportunity for the high energy physics community to leverage the research and development motivated by these commercial markets for use in future detector systems.
While components based upon mature standards (such as the SNAP12 format) for parallel optics are already available, novel emerging devices offer advantages over some of these existing products. The devices known as parallel optical engines are particularly interesting due to the miniature footprints being achieved in packaging these components. Multiple vendors are pursuing a range of packaging concepts, each with their own unique approach to the delivery of compact components. Products are being prototyped as arrays of transmitters, receivers, or transceivers with channel counts ranging from 4 to 12. These can be used to implement optical data links with link rates up to 120 Gbps in each direction.
Another promising feature of these optical engines is the freedom that their use provides to design engineers in locating the optical components. Unlike many optical transceivers, these components are specifically design to be used as board mounted applications. By allowing these devices to be located away from printed circuit board edges, the length of high speed differential traces carrying the serial data to and from these optical components can be reduced. This offers design and performance advantages (by simplfying trace routing and reducing signal path lengths, thereby reducing the electromagnetic emissions and susceptibility). In addition to operating at high data rates, these components are engineered to provide high packaging density with low power consumption.
As part of the Versatile Link common project, investigation of these components have been carried out in close collaboration with multiple vendors of the technologies. Whenever feasible, evaluation boards from these vendors have been obtained to gather initial data on the optical and electrical characterisics of their products. Custom evaluation boards have also been designed by Fermilab engineers when test systems were not readily available from the vendors. In addition to these boards, FPGA mezzanine cards have been designed to host optical engines with the goal of distributing these modular mezzanine cards to Versatile Link collaborators for their own system level testing needs.
This presentation will illustrate test results based on the evaluation hardware and optical components for a number of vendors. In addition, lessons learned in the design and testing of these components will be shared.