The External Laser Source Interconnect System (ELSIS) from Molex uses proven technology to speed the development of hyperscale data centers. 

Molex is currently sampling the ELSIS hybrid optical electrical connector and cage system, giving engineers a head start on development and testing — well ahead of industry adoption of co-packaged optics (CPO). Supporting design and development materials for the fully pluggable module system, including 3D models, technical drawings, and detailed specifications, are available now. Molex aims to release the fully integrated system by the third quarter of 2023, which will enable companies to commercialize 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 — 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 fiber 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. Plus, the design eliminates high-speed electrical I/O drivers on the IC and in pluggable modules, further reducing thermal loads and power consumption within the equipment.  

Molex used its existing optical and electrical I/O products as building blocks for ELSIS. This ensures known field performance and reduces the need for considerable engineering and testing.