Software for simulation and improved design of high data rate optical fibres components

Argotech is a Czech R&D company supported by ESA Technology Broker Czech Republic and providing their customers expertise, engineering services, customised product design and process development in the field of optics, electronics and photonics.

One segment of their expertise refers to Photonics Integrated Circuits (PIC) integration and packaging for advanced applications like high speed data transfer as well as sensing applications. PIC chips are a crucial part of modern high speed solutions over fiber. It needs to deal with high frequency signals and is stressed with high temperatures. High frequency of electromagnetic waves, in the size of hundreds of micrometres, brings into account impact of electromagnetic interference which induces cross-talk among channels of multichannel solutions both transmitter and receiver. To avoid this, it is necessary to perform a simulation first, proving that a product will withstand such electron flow.

The computational processing of the tests used to be extremely time demanding: to perform the tests, it took up to eight days. In order to improve its services, Argotech sought a technology collaboration that would allow to significantly reduce the time required to test the proposed design.

In 2015 the company consulted a possible solution of their technology need with ESA Technology Broker Czech Republic (ESA TB CZ). ESA TB CZ specialists assisted in preparation of Technology Need (TN) “Computational electromagnetics analyses for optimisation of microelectronic optical components” and provided its distribution in the ESA Commercialisation Network.

ESA TB CZ eventually handed over the TN to the German company CST, which produces analysis software package for designing, analysing and optimising electromagnetic components and systems. The software was developed in the 1990s and was used for verifying antenna performance of ESA/JAXA BepiColombo satellite built by Airbus. Consequently, the software has found applications in several other space applications that helped to optimise its functional parameters. Space optimisation gives CST software a competitive advantage since it is able to assess the problem from multiple domains of physics, and therefore linking the electromagnetics computations with other physics domains.

After an introduction brokered between Argotech and CST in 2016, the first test was initiated and executed. A regular simulation that used to take Argotech up to eight days was completed in six hours by the CST software, bringing a significantly reduced processing time. The software simulation solution from the matched company CST was then purchased.

During a technical collaboration to integrate CST’s software into Argotech’s fiber optic modelling, CST company was acquired by Dassault. Due to these organisational changes, as well as the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic measures, Argotech has begun to fully utilise CST modelling software in the 2022.

Thanks to the experience of modelling electromagnetic waves in space, modelling high frequency data transmission for PIC based solutions by Argotech is now faster and more accurate. An example of such activity is the H2020 public funded project PhLEXSAT.

Fig. 1: Packaging H2020 project PhLEXSAT.

Fig. 2: HF packaging H2020 project PhLEXSAT, receiver @90GHz.

Fig. 1: PhLEXSAT, mesh of 3D model in CST studio SW prior start of the HF simulation.