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Optical Transmission System for Interconnecting Electronic Units

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000046961D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 53K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Balliet, L: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

An optical transmission system is described for interconnecting a plurality of electronic units, such as integrated circuit modules, printed circuit cards and even large-size equipment cabinets. This system utilizes an optical transmission plane for transferring signals between the different units. This system permits high data transmission rates via a universal-type interface. This system also greatly reduces electrical connections, connectors and interunit cabling and wiring. Fig. 1 shows the basic concept for the case of two separate electronic units 10 and 11. These units are mounted upon an optically transparent transmission plane or transmission mat 12 which is comprised of a layer 13 of transparent core material sandwiched between upper and lower layers 14 and 15, respectively, of transparent cladding material.

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Optical Transmission System for Interconnecting Electronic Units

An optical transmission system is described for interconnecting a plurality of electronic units, such as integrated circuit modules, printed circuit cards and even large-size equipment cabinets. This system utilizes an optical transmission plane for transferring signals between the different units. This system permits high data transmission rates via a universal-type interface. This system also greatly reduces electrical connections, connectors and interunit cabling and wiring. Fig. 1 shows the basic concept for the case of two separate electronic units 10 and 11. These units are mounted upon an optically transparent transmission plane or transmission mat 12 which is comprised of a layer 13 of transparent core material sandwiched between upper and lower layers 14 and 15, respectively, of transparent cladding material. Core layer 13 has a refractive index of n2, and cladding layers 14 and 15 each have a refractive index of n1, where n2 is greater than n1 . Light propagating in the core layer 13 reflects off the cladding interfaces in a similar fashion as in the case of conventional fiber optics. In addition to its other electronic apparatus, the unit 10 includes a driver circuit 16 which drives a light emitter 17, such as a light-emitting diode or a laser device. Light from the emitter 17 is passed by a spherical lens 18 through a hole or transparent window 19 in the bottom of the unit 10 and into the transmission mat
12. A reflective cone member 20 is mounted in the transmission mat 12 directly under the opening 19. Thus, light rays from the emitter 17 strike the reflective cone 20 and are thus caused to propagate in all directions within the core layer
13. Such light is reflected by the cladding layers 14 and 15 and confined within the core layer 13 by total internal reflection. The unit 11, in addition to its other electronic equipment, includes a light detector 21, such as a photosensitive diode, which in turn drives a receiver amplifier 22. A hole or transparent window 23 is provided in the bottom of the unit 11 in line with the light detector 21. A second reflective cone 24 is located in the transmission mat 12 directly below this window 23. Thus, some of the light rays traveling along the core layer 13 are reflected by this reflective cone 24 and are directed upwardly so as to strike the light detector 21. In this manner, optical signals generated by the emitter 17 in unit 10 are received and detected by the detector 21 in the unit 11. Fig. 2 is a plan view illustrating how multi...