Molex introduces solution for co-packaged optics

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Molex has developed a pluggable module solution for co-packaged optics (CPO).

The External Laser Source Interconnect System (ELSIS) is a complete system of cage, optical and electrical connectors with a pluggable module that uses proven technology to speed the development of hyperscale data centres.

Currently being sampled, the ELSIS hybrid optical electrical connector and cage system, has been designed to help engineers develop and test co-packaged optics ahead of wider industry adoption.

Supporting design and development materials for the fully pluggable module system, includes 3D models, technical drawings and detailed specifications, all of which are now available. Molex is targeting Q3 2023 for release of the fully integrated solution, which will enable companies to commercialise their designs and quickly ramp production as CPO acceptance scales.

CPO is a next-generation technology that moves optical connections from the front panel to within the host system, placing them right next to high-speed ICs.

“From high-speed networking chips to graphics processing units (GPUs) and AI engines, the demand for I/O bandwidth continues to escalate,” said Tom Marrapode, director of advanced technology development, Molex Optical Solutions. “By placing the optics closer to these ASICs, CPO will address the growing complexities associated with high-speed electrical traces, including signal integrity, density and power consumption.”

Traditional pluggable modules have their optical connections at the user side of the module, creating concerns about eye safety when used with high-power laser sources, such as those planned for CPO. As a blind-mating solution, ELSIS eliminates user access to optical fibre ports and cables, providing a complete external laser source system for safe, easy implementation and maintenance.

The use of external laser sources also means a major heat source is moved away from the optoelectronics and IC package. In addition, the design eliminates high-speed electrical I/O drivers on the IC and in pluggable modules, helping to further reduce thermal loads and power consumption within the equipment.

Molex said that it had used its existing optical and electrical I/O products, which have proven field reliability, as building blocks for ELSIS in order to ensure known field performance and to reduce the need for considerable engineering and testing.

ELSIS is described as a comprehensive, all-in-one solution. External laser source systems comprise a complex mix of optical and electrical connectors, pluggable modules, internal host system fibre optic cabling and cages. By designing all these elements in-house, Molex has created a complete, fully engineered system that reduces the lengthy design cycles needed to integrate these components.