Data centers (DCs) are facing the challenge of delivering more capacity over longer distances. As line rates increase to 25 Gb/s and higher, DCs are being challenged with signal integrity issues due to the long electrical traces that require retiming. In addition, the density of interconnects on the front panel is limited by the size and power dissipation requirements of the pluggable modules. One proposal to overcome these issues is to use embedded optical transceivers in which optical fibers are used to transport data to and from the front panel. These embedded modules will utilize arrays of VCSEL or silicon-photonic transceivers, and in both cases, the capacity may be limited by the density of the optical connections on the chip. To address this constraint, we have prototyped optical fibers in which the glass and coating diameters are reduced to 80 and 125 microns, respectively. These smaller diameters enable twice as many optical interconnects in the same footprint, and this in turn will allow the transceiver arrays to be collinearly located on small chips with dimensions on the order of (5x5mm2)1,2. We have also incorporated these reduced diameter fibers into small, flexible 8-fiber ribbon cables which can simplify routing constraints inside modules and optical backplanes.
Scott R. Bickham, Radawan Ripumaree, Julie A. Chalk, Mark T. Paap, William C. Hurley, and Randy L. McClure, "Multimode fiber for high-density optical interconnects," Proc. SPIE 10109, Optical Interconnects XVII, 101090S (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 31, 2017; Published: 20 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2255505.
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