SIPhoDiAS focuses on Very High Throughput Satellites that demonstrate high-performance and low SWaP enabled by the introduction of photonic components within their payload. The project researches digital/analogue satellite payload architectures which deploy high volumes of photonic interfaces to optically interconnect the on-board equipment. These components - digital transceivers, analogue photodetectors and electro-optic modulators - will be enhanced in terms of O/E performance to enable on-board multi-Gb/s digital optical interconnects as well as Q/V band microwave-photonic links.


SIPhoDiAS will develop 850 nm multimode optical transceivers delivering aggregate bit rates beyond 100 Gb/s on 25 Gb/s line and 25 Gbd symbol rates. The modules will host rad-hard VCSEL driver and TIA chipsets that will be designed and fabricated in IHP 0.13 um SiGe BiCMOS process. The optical sub-assemblies will be built using flip-chip mounting of electronic and opto-parts on a hi-rel Borosilicate glass substrate.


SIPhoDiAS will develop Ka and Q-band analogue photodetectors that will be assembled in compact packages allowing for >3 times more bandwidth per unit area than the current state-of-the-art hi-rel commercial products. The modules will host InP photodetector chips with monolithically integrated lenses assembled with RF matching circuits. Final target is to deliver 40 GHz bandwidth at >0.6 A/W responsivity.

High-bandwidth electro-optic modulators

SIPhoDiAS will develop arrays of high-bandwidth electro-optic modulators monolithically integrated in GaAs. The integrated circuits will use a folded-path optical configuration to manage all fibre interfaces packaged opposite direct in-line RF feeds for ease of board layouts. This is expected to enable >three-fold mass and size benefits. Final target is to deliver twin modulator arrays that will demonstrate >50+ GHz RF bandwidth per element with a half‐wave voltage Vπ below 4V.

Module to sub-system evaluation

SIPhoDiAS will perform environmental testing of its opto-electronics modules to demonstrate reliability at TRL 7. Component test plans will consider latest ESA standards for active photonic device qualification. In addition, SIPhoDiAS will perform sub-system integration of its modules to demonstrate its impact on system SWaP and functional performance as well as demonstrate the target TRL-7 from module up to sub-system level. A digital optical interconnect and a photonic RF frequency down-converter sub-system respectively representative of Digital and Analogue photonic payloads will be built and tested.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 870522