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  • Air Force to Fund Photonic Tech
Mar 2010
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, OH, March 22, 2010 — The Air Force Research Laboratory is soliciting proposals for $2.4 million in funding under its Photonics Manufacturing Program to help address manufacturing challenges associated with producing high bandwidth photonics interconnect technology for military communications.

The Air Force Research Laboratory's Manufacturing Technology Div. (AFRL/RXM) is interested in identifying potential manufacturing improvement programs that significantly impact cost, schedule, or availability of photonics interconnect technology for military applications to hasten the maturity of the technology and lead to its rapid transition into Air Force use.

The government expects to award one or two contracts for the funding sometime around July 1. About $400,000 is expected to be awarded in FY2010, with $1 million each in 2011 and 2012 for an estimated total of $2.4 million.

Proposals should address how manufacturing improvements would be incorporated into current and future AF weapon system production programs. Proposed efforts should focus on increasing the producibility and affordability of systems with the following specific areas of interest:
  • Performance: Air Force systems (ground, air and space) are processing greater and greater amounts of data and information requiring increased interconnect communications bandwidths at intramodule (chip-to-chip), intermodule (board-to-board) and system (system-to-system) levels. Photonics interconnect technology can meet these increased requirements but are in need of manufacturing process improvements to make the technology more producible and affordable for Air Force applications. Proposed programs should address how to meet Air Force next generation and future generation interconnect communication needs thereby accelerating technology insertion.
  • Scaleability: Demonstrate how the interconnect technology solution will meet chip, board and system interconnection requirements and also meet increasing bandwidth requirements of the future. Demonstrate how photonics interconnection technology solutions can accommodate migration from chip levels to system levels as well as accommodate not only present day bandwidth requirements but also future increased bandwidth requirements.
  • Transition: Identify anticipated technology insertions into Air Force weapon systems for the next five years. (True insertion dates versus just transition opportunities are being sought; weapon system office endorsements of the technology are also highly desirable.)
Proposals will be accepted until April 26.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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