Multifiber multimode connector concepts have been developed for use within MIL-C-38999 connector shells. These connectors use pairs of novel 'multifiber positioners' to secure and precisely position multiple mating pairs of individual optical fibers to achieve excellent light throughput characteristics. The multifiber positioner is a micromachined structure that includes multiple V-grooves in silicon created via anisotropic etching. In one embodiment, the multifiber positioner was designed to handle 4 fiber channels of 100/140/170 micron polyimide coated fiber. These concepts have been used to create preliminary designs for connectors suitable for aircraft application including a 4- channel connector housed in a 38999 shell size #11 and a 16-channel connector in a shell size #19. The multifiber positioner is mounted within the connector shell using a 'floating-contact' concept to provide vibration isolation and physical contact of fiber end surfaces. High temperature composite materials have been selected for certain key elements within the connector including resilient elements within an alignment sleeve to innovate a new approach to alignment. The fiber terminus and rear shell designs have been developed to facilitate user- friendly operation. The rear shell includes new methods for cable attachment and seals for both environmental and EMI/RFI protection.
Gregory J. Sellers,
Richard F. Roth,
"Multifiber optic connectors for aircraft applications", Proc. SPIE 2467, Fly-by-Light: Technology Transfer, (22 May 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.210097; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.210097