This is the first publication in a short series, reporting progress at Teledyne e2v to replace copper with fiber as the physical transport layer, connecting data converters to digital signal processors. The goal is to substantially simplify high-throughput data converter interconnect to enable remotely positioned converters. In so doing, data and critically control signals, are reliably routed over substantially longer distances than commonplace today. Exploiting lightweight optical fiber is seen as the key here, opening microwave RF systems to future innovation. Such an approach can be particularly advantageous in phased array systems.
Combining high sampling bandwidths extending into the Ka-band with decreasing power consumption and improved size means modern data converters are already poised for co-location with sensitive RF antenna arrays. This could signify an important next step towards building commercially viable digital phased array systems.
According to Teledyne e2v’s engineers, achieving these aims stimulates further development of the ESIstream protocol. As proof of concept, they will design a low-cost coding engine able to aggregate all control signals that are subsequently encoded and serialized by applying the ESIstream protocol. Low-cost FPGA code engines will sit at opposite ends of the optical link, bridging data between a target converter such as the forthcoming EV12PS640 or EV12DD700 and their associated DSP modules.
This initial exploration explains the context, challenges, and implementation plans, results will follow later.
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