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Integrated receiver architectures for board-to-board free-space optical interconnects


In many computer and server communications copper cables and wires are currently being used for data transmission and interconnects. However, due to significant shortcomings, such as long transmission time, high noise level, unstable electrical properties, and high power consumption for cooling, researchers are increasingly turning their research interests toward alternatives, such as fiber optic interconnects and free-space optical communication technologies. In this paper, we present design considerations for an integrated receiver for high-speed free-space line-of-sight optical interconnects for distortion-free data transmission in an environment with mechanical vibrations and air turbulences. The receiver consists of an array of high-speed photodiodes for data communication and an array of quadrant photodiodes for real-time beam tracking in order to compensate for the beam misalignment caused by vibrations in servers. Different configurations for spatially positioning the quadrant and data photodiodes are discussed for 4×4 and 9×9 multielement optical detector arrays. We also introduce a new beam tracking device, termed the strip quadrant photodiodes, in order to accurately track highly focused optical beams with very small beam diameter.

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