Component technology upgrades for the future

Performance requirements imposed on fiberoptic systems grow more stringent all the time. As a result, engineers are constantly revising the technology, from the component level on u¥to the systems level. This Handbook describes redesigns of components, interconnects, and even manufacturing techniques.

Component technology upgrades for the future

Kristin Lewotsky

Associate Editor, Technology

Performance requirements imposed on fiberoptic systems grow more stringent all the time. As a result, engineers are constantly revising the technology, from the component level on u¥to the systems level. This Handbook describes redesigns of components, interconnects, and even manufacturing techniques.

Polarization offers engineers and system designers a useful tool for controlling light in applications ranging from telecommunications to fiber sensors. Manufacturers have developed polarization-maintaining fibers and components for such systems, but users must understand the alignment process to obtain optimal performance and minimize signal loss. Omur Sezerman and Garland Best discuss techniques for measuring extinction ratio in systems and tell how to use it to align polarization-maintaining components and fibers.

High-performance wavelength-division-multiplexing systems impose strict environmental-stability requirements on components. Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, for instance, include couplers, isolators, and filters that must offer low-loss performance over a temperature range from -20°C to 75°C. David Polinsky describes a cylindrical-packaging scheme that can offer that type of environmental stability. By altering the basic device design, engineers can produce multifunction hybrid components that can minimize the loss in a network.

Parallel optical links offer a robust, high-speed, reconfigurable approach to optical switching that will be an integral part of telecommunications networks of the future. Waguih Ishak and Kirk Giboney describe prototype parallel-optical-interconnect modules developed by the members of the Parallel Optical Link Organization. The ten-channel modules can operate as fast as 10 Gbit/s, providing high-speed links for telecommunications and data-communications systems.

The optoelectronics market in North America alone is projected to reach $5.9 billion by 2004. To produce such vast quantities of components, manufacturers will have to move beyond the labor-intensive boutique approach and into factory automation. Jim Dormer will discuss an optical subassembly plant that boasts almost completely automated assembly and testing operations.

Together, this collection of articles aims to bring readers u¥to date on the rapidly changing technology of fiberoptic components.

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