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Patent Application Titled "Method and Apparatus for Implementing Optical Modules in High Temperatures" Published Online

July 23, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventor Louderback, Duane (Zephyr Cove, NV), filed on December 19, 2013, was made available online on July 10, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates to optical modules, particularly those for operation at high temperatures. Optical modules routinely use thermoelectric coolers to stabilize the operating temperature of lasers, particularly distributed feedback (DFB) and tunable lasers. This is done to stabilize the optical power and wavelength. In this arrangement, the electronics used to drive the lasers are not placed on the thermoelectric cooler and operate at the ambient temperature where they are located. The thermoelectric cooler controller also operates at the ambient temperature where it is located. Current use of thermoelectric coolers in optical modules is focused on temperature stabilization and moderate reduction of the operating temperature of the lasers. Since the drive electronics are not placed on the thermoelectric cooler, the modules are not designed to significantly extend the operating temperature range, but to improve other laser transmitter characteristics such as optical power and wavelength stability."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "An apparatus for implementing an optical module that may operate at high temperatures is provided. The optical module apparatus may have optoelectronics and electronics placed on a thermoelectric cooler to enable high temperature operation. The thermoelectric cooler controller may be implemented in electronics that may operate at high temperature and may be placed on a printed circuit board with the thermoelectric cooler.

"To this end, in an embodiment of the invention, an optical module apparatus is provided. The apparatus may have a thermoelectric cooler on a first circuit board. The optical module apparatus may have a semiconductor light source and a photodetector on a second circuit board. The second circuit board may be on the thermoelectric cooler. A thermoelectric cooler controller may be mounted to the first circuit board. The thermoelectric cooler controller may not be located on or mounted to the thermoelectric cooler.

"In an embodiment, the apparatus may have electronics on the second circuit board to interface with the semiconductor light source and the photodetector. The optical module apparatus also may have an optical fiber with optics on the second circuit board to couple light from the semiconductor light source into the optical fiber and from the optical fiber onto the photodetector.

"In another embodiment of the invention, an optical module apparatus is provided. The apparatus may have a combination of one or more semiconductor light sources and one or more photodetectors. The apparatus also may have a thermoelectric cooler and electronics to control the thermoelectric cooler. The apparatus may have a temperature monitor and electronics to interface with the semiconductor light sources and the photodetectors. The optical module apparatus may have one or more optical fibers and optics to couple light from the semiconductor light sources into the optical fibers and from the optical fibers onto the photodetectors. The semiconductor light sources, photodetectors, optics, and electronics to interface with semiconductor light sources and photodetectors are located on the thermoelectric cooler and the electronics to control thermoelectric cooler are not located on the thermoelectric cooler.

"In an embodiment, the thermoelectric cooler may be designed to have high reliability at high temperatures.

"In an embodiment, the optical module operates at an ambient temperature above 100.degree. C.

"In an embodiment, the electronics to control the thermoelectric cooler operate at the ambient temperature of the optical module or higher.

"In an embodiment, the thermoelectric cooler maintains a temperature lower than ambient where the semiconductor light sources, photodetectors, optics, and electronics to interface with semiconductor light sources and photodetectors are located.

"In an embodiment, the temperature lower than ambient may be sufficiently low to enable required functionality and reliability of the optical module.

"A further embodiment of the invention provides a method of implementing an optical module. The method may have the steps of providing a thermoelectric cooler on a first circuit board; providing a semiconductor light source and a photodetector on a second circuit board; situating the second circuit board on the thermoelectric cooler; and providing a thermoelectric cooler controller on the first circuit board.

"In an embodiment, the method may have the further steps of providing an optical fiber;

"and providing optics on the second circuit board to couple light from the semiconductor light source into the optical fiber and from the optical fiber onto the photodetector.

"Another embodiment of the invention provides a method of implementing an optical module. The method may have the steps of providing a thermoelectric cooler on a first circuit board; providing an optoelectronic component and an electronic component on a second circuit board; placing the second circuit board on the thermoelectric cooler; and providing a thermoelectric cooler controller on the first circuit board.

"An advantage of the invention is to provide a method and optical module apparatus that may operate at high temperatures, substantially higher temperatures than ambient temperature.

"An advantage of the invention is to provide a method and optical module apparatus having the optoelectronics and electronics (except for the thermoelectric cooler controller) on a thermoelectric cooler.

"Another advantage of the invention is to provide a method and optical module apparatus having the electronics for controlling the thermoelectric cooler only requiring relatively simple, low-speed electronics that may be implemented in integrated circuit technologies that may operate at very high temperatures (200.degree. C. or higher), making it possible to control the thermoelectric cooler with uncooled electronics.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

"FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of an optical module showing optoelectronics and electronics placed on a thermoelectric cooler to enable high temperature operation. The thermoelectric cooler controller may be implemented in electronics that may operate at high temperature and may be located on a printed circuit board with the thermoelectric cooler."

For more information, see this patent application: Louderback, Duane. Method and Apparatus for Implementing Optical Modules in High Temperatures. Filed December 19, 2013 and posted July 10, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4610&p=93&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140703.PD.&OS=PD/20140703&RS=PD/20140703

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Circuit Board, Semiconductor, Optoelectronics.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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