New Expanded Beam lensed ferrule

Louise Smyth

Diamond SA has launched the Expanded Beam (XB) lensed ferrule series. The growing deployment of optical fibre in industrial, avionic, military and transportation applications are leading to the increasing use of optical connectors providing low insertion loss, ease-of-use and, more important, serviceability. Connector contaminants are the leading cause of power loss and signal degradation, often requiring the continuous need for cleaning, which can be considered a drawback for the replacement of copper wiring. As a result, there is a requirement for reliable and maintenance-free optical connectors insensitive to dirt and debris, especially in harsh environments. For this reason, a novel modular, single-mode lensed ferrule has been developed. Its compact form-factor design fits into standard connector bodies (i.e. E-2000, MPO, MIL-38999, etc.), offering insensitivity to contamination and mating-cycle reliability, typically found in bulky harsh environment lensed connectors.

The alignment accuracy between a fibre and a lens must be under 1 µm in order to attain acceptable insertion losses, which is normally difficult to obtain. To achieve this level of accuracy, Diamond uses exceedingly precise components and unique assembly techniques, keeping ultra-low mechanical tolerances in the processing of ceramics and opto-mechanical components. The result is a highly repeatable, low insertion loss ferrule, that opens new perspectives in the context of optical connections, where mating-cycles, dust insensitivity, reliability and low losses are required.