Uses of PHOTONICS in Space, Air, Water and Railway
Currently, many of applications are implemented using some form of discrete (free-space) optics, much can be gained
from a transition to Photonics Integrated Circuits. This follows the trends in the electronics industry where highly
integrated electronic circuits have allowed the combination of many different functions in a small form factor.
Just as it has done for the electronics industry, integrated optics will lead to smaller, cheaper, more reliable
and more user-friendly devices. Which become very helpful for space, air, and water and railway transportation.
Photonics technologies currently used are typically categorized as Silicon Photonics, III-V Materials, and Dielectrics.
Silicon Photonics, using Silicon-on-Insulator, offers passive light manipulation at a very small footprint, allowed by the relatively high contrast index of silicon.
The III-V Materials technology platform offers light amplification and detection, next to passive light manipulation as filtering, splitting or interfering.
The Dielectrics technology platform offers light manipulation with very low transmission and fibre coupling losses, given the refractive index match of Silica. Also referred as Planar Lightwave Technology (PLC).
Interfacing to PIC Devices
To interface with the optical system, the visible light PICs can be equipped with optical fibre connections or be used as a free- space optical component.
Hybrid configurations with both fibre connections as well as free-space interfaces on the same device are also possible. The devices based on the
PIC for visible light have no moving parts, are robust and stable over a very wide temperature range, do not need optical adjustment and can be very
compact in size.