Optoelectronics

Optical engine platform showcased at OFC 2019

6th March 2019
Mick Elliott

OFC 2019 in San Diego (March 5-7) is providing the platform for II-VI Incorporated and Samtec to unveil a 56 Gbps PAM4 per channel demonstration of the next-generation Samtec FireFly on-board optical engine technology. II-VI’s recently announced high speed vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) are embedded within the FireFly system architecture.

The demonstration platform showcases low latency, high performance, on-board optical engines transmitting at 56 Gbps PAM4 per channel. The FireFly Micro Flyover System copper and optical options offer a direct connection into the ASIC/FPGA package bypassing the PCB for improved density and performance.

The latest FireFly solutions are compatible with new generation FPGAs that support 56G PAM4 transceivers.

“The high-performance and compact size of the protocol-agnostic FireFly redefines optical connectivity in a broad range of applications such as video, aerospace, embedded computing, instrumentation, high-performance computing and Data Centre,” said Arlon Martin, Sr. Director, Marketing, Samtec Optical Group. “This product demonstration leverages II-VI’s 56 Gbps PAM4 VCSELs, which are industry-leading in performance and reliability.”

“We worked closely with Samtec to ensure that our VCSELs exceeded the requirements for their high-performance 200G FireFly mid-board optical engines,” said Karlheinz Gulden, General Manager, II-VI Laser Enterprise. “We successfully integrated our leading-edge 56 Gbps PAM4 VCSEL arrays into Samtec’s transceivers and we are excited about the demonstration at OFC.”

Samtec’s FireFly mid-board optical engines offer system designers flexibility and performance advantages compared to pluggable optical transceivers. FireFly features multiple optical front panel interconnect options.

A compact footprint is 4x smaller than the standard quad small form-factor pluggable (QSFP) module size and uses the same micro connector for both optical and copper cable assemblies.

II-VI’s 4-channel VCSEL arrays can be modulated at 56 Gbps PAM4 to achieve a combined 200 Gbps over short reach multimode links. AOCs and transceivers based on VCSELs offer the most cost-effective solution for data centre links that span from 10 to 300 meters.

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