National Physical Laboratory

Next generation interconnects

The demands of high-speed data transfer in modern computing and data storage systems have driven the development of Optical Printed Circuit Boards (OPCBs).

OPCB mounted and aligned
OPCB mounted and aligned with respect to the
launch and receive objectives

With its considerable experience in characterising silica based fibre optics, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has developed a variable launch system to measure the attenuation and isolation of the polymer multimode waveguides found in OPCBs. Variations in the launch numerical aperture (NA), can lead to very large differences in the measured total attenuation values.

NPL's research provides advantages for this emerging technology include larger bandwidth capacity and lower energy demands that ensure continuing interest among the leading international communications companies. Viable boards are now beginning to appear and knowledge of their attenuation and isolation is critical to their operation and the development and refinement of the boards themselves.

The NPL system is highly flexible and can accommodate a range of board and waveguide sizes. As well as the attenuation of a particular waveguide, the amount of 'crosstalk' between adjacent guides is also an important criterion. Manufacturers of these boards will also need to know end face quality of the guides and assessments can be made for both surface roughness and geometrical form and the corresponding coupling losses into and out of the guide determined.

Read more about this work in the Applied Optics (Vol 50, No 22, Aug 2011).

Find our more about NPL';s Optical Radiation & Photonics research

For further information, please contact Robert Ferguson

Last Updated: 2 May 2012
Created: 9 Sep 2011

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