DIRECT TO PHASE II High-Speed Digital Fiber Optic Receiver

Navy SBIR 21.2 - Topic N212-D04
NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command
Opens: May 19, 2021 - Closes: June 17, 2021 (12:00pm edt)

N212-D04 TITLE: DIRECT TO PHASE II - High-Speed Digital Fiber Optic Receiver

RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements (GWR);Networked C3


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop and package an uncooled digital fiber optic receiver that operates up to 100 Gbps, binary, non-return-to-zero for air platform fiber optic link applications.

DESCRIPTION: Current airborne military (mil-aero) core avionics, electro-optic (EO), communications and electronic warfare systems require ever-increasing bandwidths while simultaneously demanding reductions in space, weight, and power (SWaP). The replacement of shielded twisted pair wire and coaxial cable with earlier generation, bandwidth-length product, multimode optical fiber has given increased immunity to electromagnetic interference, bandwidth, throughput, and a reduction in size and weight on aircraft. The effectiveness of these systems hinges on optical communication components that realize high per-lane throughput, low latency, large link budget, and are compatible with the harsh avionic environment [Refs 6, 7, 8, 9].

In the future, data transmission rates of 100 Gbps and higher will be required. Substantial work has been done to realize data rates approaching this goal based on the use of multilevel signal coding; but multilevel signal encoding techniques trade off link budget and latency to achieve high digital bandwidth [Refs 1-3]. To be successful in the avionic application, existing non-return-to-zero (NRZ) signal coding with large link budget and low latency must be maintained [Refs 4-5, 10]. Advances in optical receiver designs are required that leverage novel photo-detector technology, semiconductor process technology, circuit designs, architectures, and packaging and integration techniques.

The proposed avionic receiver must operate across a -40 C to +95 C temperature range, and maintain performance upon exposure to typical naval air platform vibration, humidity, temperature, altitude, thermal shock, mechanical shock, and temperature cycling environments [Refs 6-9]. The receiver must support a 10 dB link loss power budget when paired with a transmitter meeting similar environmental requirements, as well as applicable electro-optic performance restrictions. The receiver must be compatible with transmitters operating in the O band (1260-1360 nm range) and capable of receiving multi-wavelength signals transmitted over both single-mode fiber and 50 m multimode fiber (Threshold performance). The receiver optical subassembly must be configurable to function at other wavelengths using high-speed photodetectors that operate at 850 nm, 980 nm, and 1,550 nm (Objective performance). The saturation level of the receiver must allow for operation while maintaining a bit error rate no greater than 1 X 10-12 over a link having 0 dB link loss and a transmitter having an extinction ratio of 4 dB operating at its highest allowed average power (Threshold average power of 10 dBm, and Objective average power of 15 dBm). The sensitivity of the receiver must allow for operation while maintaining a bit error rate no greater than 1 X 10-12 in a link with 10 dB link loss and a transmitter operating at its lowest allowed power of -5 dBm and an extinction ratio of 4 dB. The received signal must be retimed. Additionally, the full-rate signal may be converted (de-serialized) and output as multiple lower-rate signals. The electrical output of the receiver must be differential current mode logic with a suitable pre-distortion mechanism to allow transmission of the electrical output across at least 4 in. (10 cm) of board-level interconnect. The electrical output of the receiver must provide receiver signal strength indication to the extent that SFF-8472 is appropriate for military avionics application [Ref 11].

The proposed receiver design must be capable of being demonstrated to perform reliably over the stated environmental, functional, and performance requirements with an Objective aggregate data rate of 200 Gbps. A Threshold performance level of 100 Gbps would represent an attractive option for near-term system deployment in concert with available digital fiber optic transmitter technology, while demonstrating a pathway to the 200 Gbps objective.

PHASE I: For a Direct to Phase II topic, the Government expects that the small business would have accomplished the following in a Phase I-type effort. Have developed a concept for a workable prototype or design to address, at a minimum, the basic requirements of the stated objective above. The below actions would be required in order to satisfy the requirements of Phase I:

Designed and analyzed an uncooled high-speed digital fiber optic receiver circuit and provided an approach for determining receiver parameters and testing. Designed a high-speed digital fiber optic receiver package prototype that is compatible with the receiver circuit design and coupling to optical fiber.

Determined and demonstrated the feasibility of the receiver design, the package prototype design, and a path to meeting Phase II goals based on analysis and modelling. The analysis and modeling should reference results obtained in previous efforts.

FEASIBILITY DOCUMENTATION: Offerors interested in participating in Direct to Phase II must include in their response to this topic Phase I feasibility documentation that substantiates the scientific and technical merit and Phase I feasibility described in Phase I above has been met (i.e., the small business must have performed Phase I-type research and development related to the topic, but from non-SBIR funding sources) and describe the potential commercialization applications. The documentation provided must validate that the proposer has completed development of technology as stated in Phase I above. Documentation should include all relevant information including, but not limited to: technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results. Work submitted within the feasibility documentation must have been substantially performed by the offeror and/or the principal investigator (PI). Read and follow all of the DON SBIR 21.2 Direct to Phase II Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Instructions. Phase I proposals will NOT be accepted for this SBIR topic.

PHASE II: Optimize the receiver circuit and package designs. Build and test the receiver circuit and packaged receiver prototype to meet performance requirements. Characterize the receiver over temperature and perform highly accelerated life testing. If necessary, perform root cause analysis and remediate circuit and/or packaged receiver failures. Deliver packaged receiver prototypes for 50 Gbps and 100 Gbps digital fiber optic communication link application.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Finalize the prototype. Verify and validate the receiver performance in an uncooled 100 Gbps fiber optic receiver that operates from -40 C to +95 C. Transition to applicable naval platforms.

Commercial sector telecommunication systems, fiber optic networks, and data centers could benefit from the development of high-speed receivers.




  1. Binh, L. N. "Advanced digital optical communications (2nd ed.)." CRC Press, July 26, 2017. ISBN 1482226537.
  2. Verbist, J., Verplaetse, M., Srivinasan, S. A., De Heyn, P., De Keulenaer, T., Pierco, R., Vaernewyck, R., Vyncke, A., Absil, P., Torfs, G., Yin, X., Roelkens, G., Van Campenhout, J. and Bauwelinck, J. "First real-time 100-Gb/s NRZ-OOK transmission over 2 km with a silicon electro-absorption modulator." 2017 Optical Fiber Communications Conference, Los Angeles, CA, United States, March 19-23, 2017.
  3. Ozkaya, I., Cevrero, A., Francese, P. A., Menolfi, C., Mort, T., Brändli, M., Kuchta, D. M., Kull, L., Baks, C. W., Proesel, J. E., Kossel, M., Luu, D., Lee, B. G., Doany, F. E., Meghelli, M., Leblebici, Y. and Toifl, T. "A 60-Gb/s 1.9-pJ/bit NRZ optical receiver with low-latency digital CDR in 14-nm CMOS FinFET." IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, 53(4), February 7, 2018, pp. 1227-1237.
  4. AS-3 Fiber Optics and Applied Photonics Committee (issuer)."AS5603A Digital fiber optic link loss budget methodology for aerospace platforms." SAE, January 23, 2018.
  5. AS-3 Fiber Optics and Applied Photonics Committee (issuer). "AS5750A Loss budget specification for fiber optic links." SAE, January 23, 2018.
  6. AS-3 Fiber Optics and Applied Photonics Committee (issuer). "ARP6318 Verification of discrete and packaged photonic device technology readiness." SAE, August 20, 2018.
  7. "MIL-STD-810G: Environmental engineering considerations and laboratory tests." Department of Defense, October 31, 2008).
  8. "MIL-STD-883K: Test Method Standard Microcircuits." Department of Defense, 2008.
  9. "MIL-PRF-38534J: General Specification for Hybrid Microcircuits." Department of Defense, March 13, 2015
  10. Kuchta, D. M., Rylyakov, A. V., Schow, C. L., Proesel, J. E., Baks, C. W., Westbergh, P., Gustavsson, J. S. and Larsson, A. "A 50 Gb/s NRZ modulated 850 nm VCSEL transmitter operating error free to 90C." Journal of Lightwave Technology, 33(4), October 20, 2014. , pp. 802-810.
  11. "Specification for Management Interface for SFP+."

KEYWORDS: Digital Fiber Optic Receiver; Binary Non-return to zero signaling; 100 Gigabits per Second; 200 Gigabits per Second Packaging; Highly Accelerated Life Testing; data rate

TPOC-1: Obidon Bassinan

Phone: (301) 978-6155


TPOC-2: Andrew Brower 

Phone: (908) 442-4839


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 21.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

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