We present results from a system that shows that multimode fibers can be used for both the input and the output of a free-space optical system. The system consists of plastic microlenses integrated with plastic optomechanical components that are suitable for low-cost fabrication and assembly. Such a system opens up opportunities to construct large repeaters and switches for multigigabit ethernet applications by integration with two-dimensional arrays of optoelectronic devices. We demonstrate a 2.5-Gbit/s transmission rate by using commercial vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers coupled to 62.5-μm core fibers. We consider the design constraints and the capabilities of custom optical modules suitable for mass production.
© 1999 Optical Society of America
(060.0060) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics and optical communications
(200.2610) Optics in computing : Free-space digital optics
(200.4650) Optics in computing : Optical interconnects
(350.3950) Other areas of optics : Micro-optics
David T. Neilson and Eugen Schenfeld, "Free-Space Optical Relay for the Interconnection of Multimode Fibers," Appl. Opt. 38, 2291-2296 (1999)