Thin film conductors for self-equalizing cables

Article English OPEN
G. Owen ; W. R. Trutna ; T. J. Orsley ; F. Lucia ; C. B. Daly (2017)
  • Publisher: AIP Publishing LLC
  • Journal: AIP Advances (issn: 2158-3226)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1063/1.5003626
  • Subject: Physics | QC1-999

Self-equalizing cables using hollow conductors with wall thickness less than the skin depth were proposed in 1929. However, they do not appear ever to have been widely used, although the idea has resurfaced and been refined from time to time. In the early 2000’s, self-equalizing conductors consisting of solid magnetic steel cores coated with silver were developed by W.L. Gore, and used in their 2.5 Gb/s “Eye-Opener” cables, although higher speed versions never appeared. We have revived the original 1929 idea, proposing to use glass as a solid insulating core. This technology can potentially work at frequencies of many 10’s of GHz. Possible uses include short range GHz links such as USB and Thunderbolt, and intra-rack interconnections in data centers. Our feasibility experiments have validated the principle. Copper coated glass fibers can, in principle, be manufactured, but in these tests, the conductors were capillaries internally coated with silver as these are easily obtainable, relatively inexpensive and serve to test the concept. The performance of these experimental twin lead cables corresponds to calculations, confirming the general principle. By calculation, we have compared the performance of cables made from copper-on-insulator conductors to that of similar cables made with solid copper conductors, and verified that copper-on-insulator cables have significantly less frequency dependent loss. We have also made and tested cables with copper on PEEK conductors as surrogates for copper on glass fiber.
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