2002 R&D 100 Winner
A new technology developed by two organizations in Albuquerque, N.M., could be a major step in closing the digital divide. The MTR8500 Very Short Reach (VSR) OC-192 Parallel Array Transponder Module could affect more than three-fourths of existing fiber optic data interconnects, making interconnectivity considerably less expensive.
Until the MTR8500, transponders designed for interconnect distances less than 200 m were the same as those used for distances up to 100 km. A team of researchers from Sandia National Laboratories and EMCORE Fiber Optics fixed that. They developed the first commercially available VSR transponder for distances less than 300 m.
Instead of using a single expensive fiber for serial data transmission, the developers implemented a low-cost, 12-parallel channel, multimode fiber ribbon cable, and detectors. To further reduce the cost, the developers took advantage of lower cost optoelectronics and packaging. The resulting product is one that provides 10-Gb fiber optic data communications.