Due to the potential of high data rates up to several Gb/s, low electromagnetic interference sensitivity and weight reduction capabilities, in future, optical data transmission will become standard in airplanes. The requirements on the necessary optical components that have to be operated in airborne environment in general are extremely high. In addition, airframe manufacturers are interested in low cost components. An example for such an optical component is a star coupler for data distribution, in particular, a device made on base of polymers. The applicability of such 4x4 polymer star couplers under extreme environmental conditions was investigated. The investigations were made at temperatures from -40 to +80 °C and up to 98 % humidity. Different types of housings were tested (polymer, metal, ceramic). It was found that housing of the polymer couplers is required necessarily, since non-housed components exhibit a large insertion loss increase of up to 0.5 dB during temperature variation. Best results were achieved with metal or ceramic housings exhibiting a maximum insertion loss increase of approximately 0.1 dB. However, due to a large difference of thermal expansion coefficients of filling and housing material, respectively, ceramic housings mechanically failed (crack formation) and thus metal housings are first choice. The results were also compared to those achieved for commercial 4x4 multimode couplers made of glass and based on fused bi-conical taper technology.
Miniaturization of precision optical components offers the opportunity for highly integrated high performance but lowcost
devices for a wide field of applications. An increasing amount of examples could be found in the optical communication market and in sensor technology. Basing on several examples, we discuss actual developments in both fields.
The primary object presented in this contribution is the miniaturization of a displacement sensor system with the potential for high accuracy measurements and for cost-effective production in polymers. The measurement of linear displacements can be performed by different methods e.g. magnetoresistive, potentiometric, electromagnetic or inductive encoder systems. For movements in the millimeter range and above the most precise systems are based on optical methods.
The displacement measurement of our sensor system uses the intensity modulation of two amplitude gratings, moving relative to each other and illuminated by a LED. To increase the system resolution and the signal quality the grating/detector combination is divided into four areas which are phase shifted to each other. The grating period is 25 μm with a geometrical accuracy below 1 μm. The amplitude gratings have been processed on a glass substrate lithographically. Applying electro-discharge machining a miniaturised optical bench for the passive alignment of the optical and the opto-electronic components has been realised.
The sensor has an overall size of 6x4x3 mm<sup>3</sup> and is designed for the future replication in one single polymer part. In combination with an electronic interpolation the sensor will be capable for a sub-micrometer accuracy.
In future airplanes optical data networks are expected to be state of the art. The advantages of optical technology compared to wire-based systems are higher data rates, smaller sensitivity against electromagnetic interference (EMI) and less weight. Today avionics full duplex switched ethernet (AFDX) is realised on duplex copper wires connecting two switches. An optical version of AFDX could be realised on a simplex fibre, using a two-wavelength transmission over one fibre. This would require a wavelength selective coupler, allowing a bi-directional data transmission with two wavelengths. In this work a simple WDM module is introduced, based on the principle of a micro-optical bench made of a polymer with hybrid integration of lenses and filters and allowing both multiplexing as well as de-multiplexing of wavelengths 850 nm and 1310 nm. Two different designs have been realised, one with ball lenses and one with GRIN lenses, both using edge filters for wavelength separation. The fabrication and optical performance of such couplers is described and discussed.
High-order harmonics generated by weakly relativistic femtosecond laser pulses interacting with solid and thin foil targets were studied. It was found that the conversion efficiency is one or two orders of magnitude larger than that of gas-harmonics and thus due to the high laser intensity also the harmonics are very intense. In addition, anomalies and complex interference structures have been observed in the harmonic spectra of the solid targets. They are explained by simulations. Furthermore, for the first time intense harmonics were observed from thin foil targets and, in particular,
from the target rear side. This type of studies provides a promising tool for obtaining information about the laser plasma interaction itself, e.g., on the presence of large fields and oscillations inside the foil up to a penetration depth comparable to the laser wavelength.