Optical polymer and polymer-clad silica fiber data buses for automotive applications
ABSTRACT In the last decades optical data transmission has spread from telecommunication applications to many more fields. Automobile and aviation applications are common. Like in telecommunications data rates are rapidly rising. Optical data buses in vehicles are almost exclusively used in the infotainment domain, MOST (Media Oriented Systems Transport). Current data rates are in the order of 150 MBit/s. In airplanes lightning strike protection raises new problems due to the future replacement of the metal fuselage by carbon fiber. Therefore light emitting diodes (LEDs) and polymer-optical fibers (POF) are going to reach their uttermost limit of operation. For higher data rates alternative solutions have to be found. This is achieved by replacing the LED and POF combination by vertical surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) and polymer-clad-silica (PCS) fibers. In addition the fiber core size is reduced and therefore the detector area can be reduced considerably. As a consequence data rates will be extended into the GBit/s region. This new setup enables the use of optical data transmission in automotive applications for sensors as well. Thus, safety-relevant operations like drive by wire, brake by wire and engine management can be included as well.