When a cable connection goes bad on some remote mountainside on a dark and stormy night, a skilled technician may be very far away. Connectors are often used in harsh environments — exposed to dirt, dust, mud, water, oil, etc. — and you need to be confident that they will work, over and over. Expanded beam fiber optic connectors provide the solution.
How Do They Work?
Expanded beam connectors are specifically designed for high reliability in adverse conditions. Unlike butt-joint fiber optical connectors, there is no physical contact between fiber connectors. Instead, the fiber is sealed behind a precision lens that increases the diameter of the beam by many orders of magnitude. In the mating connector, a second lens collects the light and focuses it into a second optical fiber to complete the connection.
What does this accomplish? The larger beam means greatly reduced sensitivity to dirt, dust and other contaminants that can disrupt transmission between butt-joint connectors.
The no-contact connectors enable error-free performance over thousands of mating cycles, unlike traditional optical interconnects that must be cleaned and maintained frequently by trained technicians to ensure optimal performance.
There’s another benefit: expanded beam connectors are hermaphroditic, rather than traditional male and female connectors. This greatly simplifies daisy chaining, especially in demanding environments where simplicity is essential.
Facing a Demanding Environment?
If your application requirements include harsh conditions, expanded beam fiber optic assemblies can meet your needs. They should be tested for 3000 matings (minimum) of error-free performance while withstanding extreme temperatures, corrosion, bumps, vibrations, crushing and other rough treatment. (The MIL-DTL-83526 specification for environmental resistant, hermaphroditic, fiber optic connectors provides an in-depth definition of U.S. military requirements.) Both single-mode and multi-mode configurations are available, and they’re offered with a wide variety of connector and reel options.
When the going gets tough, high reliability and ease of use are essential. Expanded beam connectors provide that reliability and simplicity in the most challenging environments, including tactical communications, outside broadcast, petrochemical, mining and offshore systems.