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13 May 2010 Embedded optical interconnect technology in data storage systems
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As both data storage interconnect speeds increase and form factors in hard disk drive technologies continue to shrink, the density of printed channels on the storage array midplane goes up. The dominant interconnect protocol on storage array midplanes is expected to increase to 12 Gb/s by 2012 thereby exacerbating the performance bottleneck in future digital data storage systems. The design challenges inherent to modern data storage systems are discussed and an embedded optical infrastructure proposed to mitigate this bottleneck. The proposed solution is based on the deployment of an electro-optical printed circuit board and active interconnect technology. The connection architecture adopted would allow for electronic line cards with active optical edge connectors to be plugged into and unplugged from a passive electro-optical midplane with embedded polymeric waveguides. A demonstration platform has been developed to assess the viability of embedded electro-optical midplane technology in dense data storage systems and successfully demonstrated at 10.3 Gb/s. Active connectors incorporate optical transceiver interfaces operating at 850 nm and are connected in an in-plane coupling configuration to the embedded waveguides in the midplane. In addition a novel method of passively aligning and assembling passive optical devices to embedded polymer waveguide arrays has also been demonstrated.
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Richard C. A. Pitwon, Ken Hopkins, Dave Milward, and Malcolm Muggeridge "Embedded optical interconnect technology in data storage systems", Proc. SPIE 7716, Micro-Optics 2010, 77161D (13 May 2010);

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