Terrestrial digital photonic technology development will not satisfy all of the aerospace requirements since RF links are often required. Organic electro-optic devices are readily adaptable to RF functions into the 100 GHz and above frequency range. In addition to lossless links, they can be utilized for RF signal processing functions such as mixing, efficient harmonic generation and filtering. Devices can be densely packed with negligible cross talk.
In addition to the well known survivability requirements for space born applications (lifetime, reliability, thermal, shock, vibration and radiation hardness), issues of weight and power become dominant. Organic devices based on thin film technologies have an obvious potential advantage with respect to weight. However, integration with other optical and/or electronic components needs to be considered since connectors often dominated size and weight. Performance (when translated back into the electronic domain) scales as the optical power and device sensitivity squared. Thus, advances in device sensitivity can be nullified by increases in optical loss.