3M Unveils Expanded Beam Ferrule and Connector System

ST. PAUL, MN — 3M has unveiled their latest Expanded Beam Optical Connector System, engineered as a high-performance, cost-effective and scalable single mode and multi-mode interconnect system for data center applications. A first-of-its-kind, the revolutionary expanded beam ferrule and connector system challenges the status quo of optical interconnect and is designed to enable the industry to meet next generation data center demands.

“We’ve reimagined fiber optic connectors,” said Nick Stacey, Ph.D., and Global Laboratory Manager at 3M. “Our ferrule and connector technology are designed to reduce cleaning requirements, to provide design flexibility and to enable the performance necessary for next generation optical deployment.”

The 3M™ Expanded Beam Optical Ferrule uses a non-contact optical coupling in contrast to the more traditional physical contact methods. 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 (1310 nm) and multimode (850 nm) 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 fibers to 192 fibers. 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 center applications.

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