Abstract

We propose a novel approach to realizing massively parallel optical interconnects based on commercially available multifiber ribbons with MT-type connectors and custom-designed planar-integrated free-space components. It combines the advantages of fiber optics, that is, a long range and convenient and flexible installation, with those of (planar-integrated) free-space optics, that is, a wide range of implementable functions and a high potential for integration and parallelization. For the interface between fibers and free-space optical systems a low-cost practical solution is presented. It consists of using a metal connector plate that was manufactured on a computer-controlled milling machine. Channel densities are of the order of 100/mm2 between optoelectronic VLSI chips and the free-space optical systems and 1/mm2 between the free-space optical systems and MT-type fiber connectors. Experiments in combination with specially designed planar-integrated test systems prove that multiple one-to-one and one-to-many interconnects can be established with not more than 10% uniformity error.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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