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3M launches expanded beam ferrule and connector system for data centres

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The new 3M Expanded Beam Optical Connector System is a scalable single and multimode interconnect system for data centre applications. It is designed to help the industry to meet next generation data centre demands.

Launched at OFC 2019, the system uses a non-contact optical coupling in contrast to the more traditional physical contact methods. The company says that, together with the connector design, this helps to provide reduced sensitivity to dust, helping maintain signal integrity, and reducing the need for, and cost of, maintenance and cleaning.

It is available in single mode (1310nm) and multimode (850nm) versions. In single mode, insertion loss specification is <0.70 dB, and return loss is >55 dB. In multimode, insertion loss specification is <0.30 dB, and return loss is >25 dB. The configurable and scalable connector design can accommodate anywhere from 12 fibres to 192 fibres. The simple, but robust hermaphroditic component geometry design, with low part count, can be mated and re-mated reliably with a simple LC-style latch. The performance enables architects and engineers to deploy the technology in multilink data centre applications.

The company is currently developing an ecosystem for its Expanded Beam Optical Connector System, and will collaborate with inspection tool providers EXFO and Sumix, who are developing adapters for their tools, inspection images and pass or fail criteria for 3M connectors.

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