Reflex Photonics launches a new blind mate active optical interconnect product line compatible with VITA and SOSA standards.

Reflex Photonics is proud to launch new LightCONEX® active optical blind mate interconnects compatible with the upcoming VITA 66.5 standard and supported by the Sensor Open System Architecture (SOSA) consortium.

Expanding on the successful LightCONEX style A compatible with VITA 66.4 aperture, Reflex Photonics is launching its style B and style C, both compatible with VITA 67.3 type C, D and E standard apertures. These VITA 67.3 apertures can be populated with modules that are either single active, dual active/passive, or a combination of optical and RF coaxial connectors. This flexibility will be particularly attractive to integrators that need to combine multiple I/O interfaces while keeping size, weight, and power (SWaP) at the minimum.

LightCONEX LC plug-in module composed of two 24-lane transceiver side by side.

Maximizing performance and system integration

Based on the OpenVPX standards 65.0, the LightCONEX solution for VPX systems is a revolutionary blind mate optical interconnect that includes a fixed active plug-in module connector and a floating backplane connector.

A low-profile LightCONEX optical module is screwed on the board edge and is part of the mating connector, saving board space and eliminating fiber cable handling. The LightCONEX backplane connector is spring-loaded to secure MT to MT mating connection. The rugged LightCONEX assembly ensures error free data transmission under severe shock, vibration, and temperature.

Michel Têtu, Industry Manager for Standardization comments:

Our clients involved in the development of military C4ISR systems are very excited by this blind mate optical interconnect innovation as the LightCONEX family of products vastly simplifies the implementation of optical interconnects. The LightCONEX is available in 12 and 24 fibers configurations and with bandwidth up to 28Gbps; it offers significant advantages to design engineers for their high-performance system integration.

Reflex Photonics Corp. to Join Sensor Open System Architecture (SOSA) Consortium

Reflex Photonics is proud to announce that its US-based subsidiary, Reflex Photonics Corp., has joined the Sensor Open System Architecture (SOSA™) consortium.
The SOSA consortium is a voluntary coalition of government, industry, and academic entities which aims at developing open technical standards for sensors. The consortium provides a vendor-neutral forum for members to work together to harmonize and create open standards to enable the development of agile, interoperable, and affordable military and commercial sensors.

Developing non-proprietary standards

The technical standards to be drafted are based on open functional architecture employing modular design using widely supported, non-proprietary standards for key sensor interfaces.

Reflex Photonics Corp. is eager to contribute to the development of SOSA sensor standards and to share its expertise with other members of the consortium mainly within the Hardware Working Group (HWG) and Electrical/Mechanical Working Group (EMWG)

Ken Agren, Reflex Photonics Corp’s Field Application Engineer and US Operations Manager, comments:

As a leading advanced developer of rugged high-speed optical transceiver modules, we welcome the opportunity to actively participate at SOSA consortium towards the development of new standards which guarantee interoperability and vendor neutrality. This open development environment fits perfectly with our corporate philosophy. We think that everybody benefits from the development of open technology standards and certifications, and from the access to industry peers, suppliers, and exposure to best practices that the SOSA forum offers.
We are confident that we will be a productive member of SOSA as we have been in other forums like VITA and ARINC.

Understanding the Test Criteria of Optical Fiber Transceivers Used in Space

By Jocelyn “Justin” Lauzon, Senior Technical Advisor at Reflex Photonics Inc.

Reliability is Critical for Components Operating in Space

This article was originally published in Military Embedded Systems in June of 2019.

In space and avionics applications, failure is not an option. Components must stand extreme heat, cold, radiation, shock, and vibration, yet deliver reliable performance. Devices must be tested beyond what is specified to ensure performance in harsh environments to avoid failure.
What are the criteria of a good reliability test program and how should one be designed? In this article, we examine the reliability requirements of such devices and the steps involved in designing a test program to ensure reliability and performance.

Diagram of the possible connections between the causes of failure

Diagram of the possible connections between the causes of failure. Connections are indicated with solid lines, no connection with a dashed line. Preordained failures have an internal mechanism that produces the same outcome, failing at a set rate, from the moment of creation. (Source: AT&T Tech Journal, 1985)

Electronic devices in space are bombarded by various types of radiation including visible, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays abd others.

Electronic devices in space are bombarded by various types of radiation including visible, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays and others.

The Advantages of Optical Fiber Extends to the Accuracy Demands of Space

In space, high performance components must be able to deliver reliably in the punishing environment. It is optical transceivers that drive transmissions, converting signals to and from a copper-resident format. Fiber optics communications provide high bandwidth and low latency signaling. Signal transmissions through fiber optic cables (FOCs) provide immunity to EM/RFI interference, crosstalk, and voltage level surges. Fiber optics’ accuracy and reliability exceeds traditional cabling. Covering 1,000 feet requires four pounds of FOC versus 39 pounds of copper wiring, and fiber optics also consume less energy than copper. To convert electrical signals from circuitries with copper output to fiber optics, optical fiber transceivers are usually required.

Reflex Photonics’ optical fiber transceivers support multiple electrical interfaces.

BGA electrical interface

MegArray™ electrical interface

LGA electrical interface

Fiber optics adds tremendous value to the entire system, therefore a suitable example within the scope of this article is a short-reach parallel multimode fiber optics transceiver supporting a large bandwidth (up to 28Gbps/channel). Intra-satellite communications require a high bit-rate. In prior years, optical transceivers represented high-performing technology, yet exhibited weakness in harsh environments. However, ruggedized, sealed optical transceivers now survive rocketing into orbit, extreme temperatures, and radiation. Testing optical devices primarily ensures quality and reliability. How does one test optical transceivers for reliable operation in harsh environments?

What Tests Are Needed to Ensure Critical Devices Can Endure the Harsh Environment of Space?

Several tests are necessary to ensure critical devices such as optical transceivers can provide reliable operation in space, including space applications testing (including radiation), mechanical, environmental, Life Tests, Live Tests, and rigorous screening tests for ensuring the reliability of subsequent lots.

How to Perform the Five Critical Tests?

In addition to a controlled set up, each test requires visual inspection for anomalies before and after the evaluation. A significant performance degradation associated with a test is considered a qualification failure. The focus of the discussion relates to mandatory testing of fiber optic transceivers (FOTs) intended for operation in space or a similarly harsh environment. All devices need mechanical and environmental testing to verify long-term integrity. Mandatory Tests also include Life and Live Tests. Such tests can help root out design or process flaws. Finally, even if units pass all tests, every subsequent lot of units must undergo screening tests.

Mandatory Mechanical and Environmental Tests

Three consecutive mechanical tests are executed on the same FOTs. Before and after completion of the mechanical integrity evaluation, units must be visually inspected and characterized over the operating temperature range to confirm no significant performance degradation occurs. Mechanical integrity evaluation tests are executed on non-operating units, in the order below:

  • Vibration tests across all three axes (20g between 20Hz and 2000Hz at sixteen minutes per axis)
  • Mechanical shock tests of five repetitions each over all six orientations, using 500g shock on a half-sine pulse duration of 0.5ms
  • Thermal shock tests consisting of twenty cycles between 0 and 100°C with ten minutes dwell time and transient time less than five seconds

Three environmental stress tests for FOTs include:

  • A temperature cycling test to evaluate mechanical fatigue over the component’s lifetime. For example, a mismatch of dissimilar materials subjected to thermal expansion can cause failure.
  • A damp heat test to ensure that a sealed FOT can continually provide resistance to a moisture-filled atmosphere.
  • A sequence of tests, applicable only to products with a BGA electrical interface compatible with solder reflow, is performed. These test for possible impact to reflow profile and cold temperature storage.

Life Tests

Life Tests validate long-term reliability via extensive, hastened lifetime tests with several units from different lots. Life tests are not intended to test for infant mortality, for which burn-in tests would suit. Life tests forecast performance degradation over a lifetime. To emulate operating for more than 20 years, an FOT operates at a bias current exceeding operating condition by 80 percent for 4000 hours at a case temperature of 100°C.

Live Tests

Live Tests, although more complex, thoroughly evaluate the performance of several electrical and optical interface configurations.
Live testing is performed with high-speed digital signals operating through every channel of the DUT (Device Under Test). As the DUT is stressed, transmission errors are measured to maintain a BER (bit error rate) that is better than 1 error in one trillion bits while operating under harsh conditions. Tested under stress, a significant signal degradation of an FOT will demonstrate a cumulative effect from both transmitter and receiver areas that would impact the error count.

Live test setup configuration.

Live test setup configuration.

Space Applications Tests

A major threat in space is radiation. Radiation testing must be split into three different categories for evaluation, covering potential complications related to geostationary or low-earth orbit environments. At least five units should be collected for each test. The tests should be repeated when FOT critical components arrive from new fabrication lots. The radiation tests are:


  • A non-operational test with a Total Non-Ionizing Dose (TNID) protons (5e12proton/cm2total dose).
  • A live test, Single Event Effects (SEE), at both room temperature and 85°C, including heavy ions (Ho, Cu, Ar, Ne, N, each for a total fluence of 1x107ions/cm2).
  • A biased and un-biased test with Total Ionizing Dose (TID) of gamma rays (100 krad cumulative dose).

The number of errors/events caused by live radiation tests must be compared to those occurring at acceptable levels. For non-operational tests, the performance of FOTs before and after the application of radiation dosages are compared and can only differ negligibly to pass. A ruggedized FOT that is sealed with encapsulation material must undergo an outgassing test. Live thermal vacuum tests, maintaining a vacuum of at least 5x10-5hPa for at least twenty thermal cycles extending from -40°C to 85°C, ramp temperature at ~5°C/minute, with 5-minute dwell times must also be successfully completed. Other tests for space applications include decompression tests, which can also be used to qualify parts for avionics applications. Decompression tests demonstrate that performance is not affected at pressure levels emulating a 2,438 m or 8,000 ft altitude, ramping to 15,850 m or 52,000 ft (in less than 15 s) and remaining there for one hour.

A highly ruggedized, radiation resistant optical transceiver suitable for use in satellites. The SpaceABLE28™ model has high I/O density with up to 28Gbps/lane from -40°C to 85°C.

Screening Tests

Finally, Screening Tests of six thermal cycles ramping at 8°C/minute with five-minute dwell times are completed for continuous assurance of quality COTS devices. Added to thermal cycling is a burn-in with a duration of 168 hours and a case temperature 100°C, operating at normal bias current. After a new FOT design is qualified via the aforementioned testing, units from subsequent production lots are validated with the screening process. Temperature cycling tests tend to reveal assembly defects, whereas burn-in tests exhibit infant mortality rates.


As discussed above, in applications such as space, avionics, and defense, failure is not acceptable. Components and systems must stand extreme heat, cold, radiation, shock, and vibration to deliver reliable performance. Finding failures, defects and marginal components through stringent testing is essential, and leads to products with a long life and high reliability in the field and in space. The five critical tests include Mandatory Mechanical and Environmental Tests, Life Tests, Live Tests, Space Applications Tests, and finally, Screening Tests. Advancing through a significant number of tests designed to demonstrate reliability in harsh environments results in fiber optic transceivers that meet or exceed operational requirements, and typically outweighs cost saving considerations for many critical applications.

Reflex Photonics awarded export category Accolades prize by the West island of Montreal Chamber.

Reflex Photonics Inc received the prize for the Aéroports de Montréal Export category at the West Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce’s (WIMCC) 2019 Accolades Gala, on Thursday, May 30th.
The Accolades Gala is the WIMCC’s most important event of the year and it offers excellent visibility to its partners. Over 350 members of the business community took part in the event in which the West Island community recognized the excellence of the 11 winning companies.

West Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce Accolade export prize awarded to Reflex Photonics

Reflex Photonics recognized for its excellence at the Accolades 2019 Gala

In 2019, Reflex Photonics Inc was nominated in two categories: High-technology and Innovation and Export and won in the Export category.

The candidates of the Accolades contest have been through a few phases to be a part of the Gala such as the application, the Grand Jury and the Independent Jury visit.  

Tullio Panarello, Reflex Photonics Executive President comments:

We are privileged to have loyal, passionate and dedicated employees that have contributed immensely to the success of Reflex Photonics in the recent years.
I am also very honoured to lead Reflex, and to be recognized by the Chamber of Commerce as an international leader in our industry.

About the WIMCC

The West Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce (WIMCC) is the voice of the West Island business community. Since its creation in 1978, its mission is to encourage and promote the development of the business community.

Reflex Photonics expands range of space-qualified products used in LEO constellations and GEO high-throughput communication satellites.

Reflex Photonics is proud to launch new space-qualified products for board-to-board and payload-to-payload multigigabit connectivity. The SpaceABLE™ fiber optics transceivers have been thoroughly tested through a new Space Qualification Program to confirm their radiation resistance level and space readiness.

Reflex Photonics is completing the space qualification of its SpaceABLE SL, LGA 4TRX, 12TX and 12RX modules. Those modules were successfully tested for Single Event Effect & Latch-up (SEE), Total non-ionizing dose (TNID), temperature cycling, and thermal vacuum (TVAC).

The Space Qualification Program consists of a comprehensive series of tests to ensure the space resistance of each product variation covering any satellite application from geostationary to low-earth orbit.

The SpaceABLE SL embedded optical modules are rugged devices offering high bandwidth (greater than 150 Gbps) in a chip-size package.

The Space Qualification Program is conducted by fully-qualified affiliated laboratories and includes the following European Space Component Coordination (ESCC) and European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS) standard tests:

  • Heavy ion beams testing.
  • Total ionizing and non-ionizing dose effect evaluation.
  • Outgassing evaluation.
  • Decompression test.
  • Vibration test.
  • Thermal vacuum and temperature cycling (1000 cycles).

Reflex Photonics’ SpaceABLE line offers bandwidth of up to 28 Gbps per lane and integrate up to 24 lanes.

Reflex Photonics’ Space Industry Manager, Guillaume Blanchette comments:

The Space Qualification Program offered by Reflex Photonics is unique. This program shows our level of commitment and expertise in qualifying high-performance optical transceivers for space applications. Reflex Photonics is eager to share the experience we gathered in the last years with the design of relevant test protocols for radiation-resistant optics with future clients and partners.

Investissement Québec, Canada Economic Development and Ministère de l’économie et de l’innovation Invest $2.5 Million in Reflex Photonics

Investissement Québec, Canada Economic Development and Ministère de l'économie et de l'innovation Invest $2.5 Million in Reflex Photonics

From left to right:

Me Jean-René Paquette, VP, Legal Affairs, West Island Montreal Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Monsef Derraji, Member of Québec Parliament for Nelligan
Mr. Michel Gibson, Mayor of Kirkland
Mr. Noël Dubé, President and CEO -Reflex Photonics
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia, Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Louis
Mr. Jocelyn Beauchesne, VP Réseau régional d’Investissement Québec
Mr. Alain Denis, VP principal aux investissements - Capital de risque Fonds de solidarité FTQ

Mr. Tullio Panarello, Executive President -Reflex Photonics

Provincial support

Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Lanaudière region, announced that the Government of Quebec will contribute $2,120,000 to Reflex Photonics for two projects that will allow the company to increase its productivity and strengthen its competitiveness.

The first project involves the acquisition of equipment to complete the implementation of a manufacturing line integrating automated operations. To carry out this project, Investissement Québec, as agent of the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation (MEI), is contributing $597,500 through the Economic Development Fund (innovative manufacturing) and is also providing a $597,500 loan from its own funds.

The second project focuses on the development of a new generation of transceivers for the aerospace markets. To carry out this project, MEI is providing $925,000 through the Créativité Québec program.

Federal support

To help it maintain its momentum, the Reflex Photonics has been awarded a $500,000 repayable contribution from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. This financial assistance will allow Reflex Photonics to acquire specialized state-of-the-art equipment, including an error rate tester and analysis software, as well as process automation equipment.

The funding was announced by the Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Louis, Francis Scarpaleggia. Specifically, this Government of Canada assistance will allow Reflex Photonics Inc. to meet the growing demand of prime contractors, increase its production and ensure better quality control of its products.

Reflex Photonics to open a new USA office to better serve its growing American customers base.

Reflex Photonics is pleased to announce the opening of a new office in the USA to better serve its growing American clientele. Reflex Photonics Corp. is strategically located on the East coast, near Philadelphia.

The opening represents an important milestone, as Reflex Photonics has been actively looking to strengthen its American offering by increasing its local presence. The sales and technical support office will allow the company to better serve the needs of our rapidly expanding customer base. The new office will enable the company to interact more directly with customers, understand their specific needs, and stay current on the evolving applications in each market.

Mr. Ken Agren will join this new office as field application engineer and US operations manager.

Furthermore, Reflex Photonics announces that Mr. Ken Agren will join this new office as field application engineer and US operations manager. Mr. Agren has accumulated more than 25 years experiences, as field application engineer and as sale manager, in the high-tech sector, selling and supporting complex solutions for the military, aerospace and medical markets.

Pierre Cardinal, Vice-President of Sales adds:

The opening of this office and the addition of Mr. Agren to the team illustrates our commitment to the American market. This will enable Reflex Photonics to sustain its growth in the region and offer better support to our local customers in key sectors of aerospace/avionic, defense, and industrial markets.
Building excellent relations with all the strategic players in these markets is essential and our new office is another step to ensure that Reflex Photonics is better placed to support existing and new clients across the USA and assist our growing network of local representatives.

Reflex Photonics to present radiation-resistant SpaceABLE28 optical transceivers at Space Tech Expo USA 2019.

Reflex Photonics will proudly display its radiation-resistant SpaceABLE28™ optical transceivers and SpaceCONEX28™ active optical blind mate interconnects for VPX systems at the upcoming Space Tech Expo USA 2019.
The SpaceABLE™ optical transceivers and SpaceCONEX™ VPX interconnect have been submitted to the most stringent protocol for heavy-ions, gamma rays, and high and low energy protons to ensure space worthiness of these COTS components.

Reflex Photonics’ radiation resistant or “Space-grade” transceivers and interconnects solutions are engineered to withstand radiation doses >100 krad (Si) as per the European Cooperation for Space Standardization ECSS-Q-ST-60-15C. The SpaceABLE were successfully qualified with the following protocols:

  • Heavy ion: Single Event Effect & Latch-up (SEE).
  • Cobalt 60 gamma ray (Total Ionizing Dose (TID)) according to MIL-STD-883G, method 1019.7.
  • High and low energy protons (Total Non-Ionizing Dose (TNID)).
  • Vibration, mechanical and thermal shock, thermal cycling, and cold storage according to MIL-STD-883 and MIL-STD-810.

The SpaceCONEX is a revolutionary radiation-resistant active optical blind mate interconnect for VPX embedded computing systems; it consists of a plug-in module connector and a backplane connector meeting the requirements of the forthcoming VITA 66.5 standard.

SpaceABLE28 radiation-resistant transceiver

The epitomy of SWaP

The advantages of using Reflex Photonics’ line of small, lightweight, high-bandwidth SpaceABLE parallel optical transceiver modules and interconnects inside these satellites are quite obvious: the SpaceABLE28 modules offer extremely high aggregate data rates (over 100 Gbps, full duplex), and still, they are less than 1.5 cm3, weigh less than 5 g and consume less than 1.5 W.

Guillaume Blanchette, Space Industry Manager at Reflex Photonics adds:

Reflex Photonics wants to “bring space a little closer” by offering COTS optical transceivers and optical infrastructure that will support the deployment of the Internet of Space and enable the next generation of space exploration.

Scientific presentation at Space Tech 2019

Reflex Photonics will also give a presentation entitled Demonstrating COTS Optical Fiber Transceivers for Intra-Satellite High-Speed Communications at Space Tech Expo USA. That presentation will demonstrate why parallel fiber optics transceivers are the best components to support intra-satellite communications for large data-transfer applications.

Come see the space grade, radiation-resistant SpaceABLE28 transceivers and SpaceCONEX28 active VPX interconnects at Space Tech Expo-USA in Pasadena, CA, USA from May 21st to 22nd (booth 3027).

Request a meeting with a representative
Request a meeting with a representative

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Company (required)

City (required)

State (required)

Country (required)


I want to be contacted to plan a meeting with a Reflex Photonics representative at the following trade show or conference:

CPIC Photonics Workshop

Embedded Tech Trends 2019

Designcon 2019

OFC 2019

SpaceWire and Fiber Working Group

Aircraft Interiors Expo

International Defense and Industry Fair (IDEF)

Navy Sea Air Space

Space Tech Expo USA

International Paris Air Show -Le Bourget

Reflex Photonics Newsletter Stay up to date and informed on new products and announcements with our newsletter.
The newsletter is published 6 times a year. (English only)

Sign me up for Reflex Photonics' Newsletter

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. You may withdraw this consent at any time. Visit the Privacy Policy page to learn more.

LightCONEX 150 Gbps 24-lane rugged transceiver to power the next generation of 3U VPX cards from Interface Concept.

Reflex Photonics is proud to report that its LightCONEX™ LC 150G (12TRX), the first 150 Gbps blind mate optical interconnect, will power a new generation of 3U form factor VPX cards developed by Interface Concept.

LightCONEX LC 150G (full duplex) active blind mate optics

The LightCONEX LC 150G is the only full-duplex active blind-mate optical interconnect with 24-lane transceivers on the market; it provides bandwidth in excess of 150 Gbps. Based on the OpenVPX™ standards, the LightCONEX frees up critical board space by integrating the optical transceiver into the board edge connector. The compact 150G full-duplex (12+12) 12.5Gbps/lane LightABLE™ LL optical transceivers are incorporated to the LightCONEX™ interconnect as per the VITA 66.5 forthcoming standard.

The backplane connector, also part of the LightCONEX solution, has a floating head mechanism that ensures optimal optical mating meeting VITA 66.0 requirements. The rugged construction of these connectors ensures error free data transmission over all 24 lanes under severe shock, vibration, and temperature extremes.

Interface Concept 3U VPX cards with LightCONEX LC 150G (full duplex) active blind mate optics

Interface Concept 3U VPX cards with LightCONEX LC 150G (full duplex) active blind mate optics

Maximizing SWaP, performance, and versatility

We are now seeing the first commercially available VPX solutions that embark the LightCONEX LC 150G.These compact FPGA VPX boards take full advantage of the bandwidth offered by the LightCONEX to deliver unprecedented performance.

Gerald Persaud, V.P. Business Development comments:

We are very excited that Interface Concept has chosen the LightCONEX LC 150G to integrate in their new IC-FEP-VPX3f card. We believe these cards deliver the best performance/consumption ratio compared to other FPGA cards and the use Reflex Photonics’ LightCONEX LC 150G interconnects plays a good part in achieving this level of performance. This standard-compliant design has market-leading I/O density, offers the best “performance/cost per lane” ratio in the industry, satisfies the most stringent SWaP requirements, and opens up new opportunities to VPX card developer.

About Interface Concept

Interface Concept is a leader in design and manufacturing of high-performance embedded boards and systems, aimed at ground, naval, air and industrial applications. The company markets commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) board-level products, based on industrial standards (3U/6U VPX, cPCI, VME, FMC, XMC, PMC) and high-end technologies.

Reflex Photonics products showcased at IDEF 2019 in Turkey

Matec Elektronik  is showcasing Reflex Photonics products at  the IDEF 2019 fair.

Reflex Photonics products showcased at IDEF 2019 in Turkey

Hosted by the Ministry of National Defense and under the management and responsibility of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, IDEF 2019, 14th International Defense Industry Fair is held on between April 30 - May 3, 2019 at TÜYAP Fair and Congress Center in Büyükçekmece, Istanbul. 

Matec Elektronikis your solution partner for Military/Aerospace, Industrial and Telecom applications.

Founded in 2011 in Istanbul Turkey, Matec Elektronik is an authorized distributor of world-leading interconnect companies for Turkey and the Middle East.
Matec is a dynamic organization with experienced team members selling and supporting high reliability, high-performance electronic components for niche markets including industrial, military, and space.