On May 22 a group of experts in the field of Aerospace and Integrated Photonics participated in a workshop that was hosted by Technobis at their new Integrated Photonics Packaging Services facility in Alkmaar, NL. The use of integrated photonics, in fiber optic sensing in particular, has reached a point of maturity and awareness, that technology push and market pull forces match at an accelerating pace. Technobis is in a position of the value chain to identify views and trends from different sides, hence initiated a broader discussion on the current state-of-the-art developments, needs and remaining challenges in the field of Aerospace. A field that traditionally adopts innovating technology early in the development cycle.
The workshop allowed both in-depth presentations and open discussions to share knowledge and ideas. With contributions from the technology supply chain (PhotonDelta, Bright Photonics, SMART Photonics, LioniX International), application experts (ESA, NLR, Airbus, Technobis), and reliability experts (ISROS and TAS). A perspective from these three segments was given on the opportunities and barriers for the common topic on how to accelerate the adoption of ASPIC based sensing in Aerospace.
Some take-home messages that were identified:
- Integrated Photonics industry is transferring focus from technology development to production scaling and consolidation;
- In order to realize Aerospace applications, the demanding environmental and operational requirements requires understanding of failure mechanisms and validation in each aspect;
- To catalyze this process for a variety of applications, the importance of finding the common denominators is key. In other words, understanding to what extent the generic approach of Integrated Photonics foundries and packaging can be extended to component, system and qualification level;
- The comprehensive approach needed for assessing the practical business case of a particular fiber-optic sensing solution.
The participants supported the conclusion that only continuous interaction between key interdependent players through open innovation collaborative projects in this field allows the sector to move to the next level of viable and sustainable business models. Public-private organizations such as PhotonDelta (the Dutch Integrated Photonics Ecosystem), ISROS (International Society on Reliability of Optoelectronics for Systems) and ESA (European Space Agency) provide the right platforms to stimulate the collaborations focused on Aerospace applications. These collaborations will continue to bring together the parties involved in the entire chain, not only from research & development to large volume supply chain, but all the way to system maintenance and component life cycle management.
This will allow all European stakeholders to maintain the current frontrunner position they have together in their own way in this field.