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II-VI Incorporated Introduces Miniature Z-Block Optics


March 10, 2017

Data rates of 10 Gb/s have become commonplace, and the long-awaited 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GbE) optical transceivers in data center applications are now here. The data center landscape has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, and the introduction of software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) along with cloud computing is in part greatly responsible for this change. All of these changes are being driven by the increasing demand from consumers and enterprise services that are very data intensive. The new miniature Z-block optics from II-VI Incorporated for 100 Gb/s data center transceivers are transforming network infrastructure to address the accelerated build-out of hyperscale data centers.

II-VI Incorporated has global research and development, manufacturing, sales, service, and distribution facilities to manufacture highly specialized engineered materials and opto-electronic components. The innovative products the company develops are used in specialized applications in the military, life sciences, semiconductor equipment, optical communications and consumer market. This includes a range of application-specific photonic and electronic materials and components that are deployed with advanced software to address the needs of each customer.

The miniature Z-block optics are ideal for the growing number of hyperscale data centers, which as of December 2016 just reached 300 globally.

Image via Pixabay

And because these hyperscale data centers have architectures that are designed to provide a single, massively scalable compute architecture, each component has to be optimized to deliver the most bang for the buck.

According to II-VI Incorporated, the miniature Z-block optics are extremely small at 1.5 x 1.0 x 1.35 mm, and fit in a standard CFP4 or QSFP package. In addition to the compact size, the micro-optics precision assembly combines or separates four wavelengths at the transmitter or receiver respectively.

The micro-optics precision assemblies can accommodate different standards for data center transceivers and other customers with LAN-WDM and CWDM4 filters physically spaced on a 250, 500 or 750 µm pitch. The company also provides prisms and micro-lenses to complement the transceiver’s optical sub-assembly.

In addressing the miniaturization technology, Gary Lin, Vice President, II-VI Photop, said, “Our ability to miniaturize our micro-optics technology platform allows us to offer our customers a very low loss technology option compared to waveguide or silicon photonics technology.”

He added, “Our micro-optics volume capabilities are based on our state-of-the-art thin-film filter fabrication facility in Guangzhou, China, from which we have shipped more than 200 million filters in the last 3 years for the fiber-to-the-home market. Our existing high-volume assembly lines for our LAN-WDM optics were leveraged to quickly ramp up our mass-manufacturable CFP4- and QSFP-compatible design that is now experiencing high demand.”

The optical transceiver market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.5 percent between 2016 and 2022, according to MarketsandMarkets, The firms said the biggest drivers are the increasing Internet penetration and data traffic from smartphones and cloud computing, which are also transforming network infrastructure.




Edited by Alicia Young

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