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News Room / IMEC Expands Silicon Photonics Portfolio, Targets Next-Generation Data Center Interconnect

IMEC Expands Silicon Photonics Portfolio, Targets Next-Generation Data Center Interconnect

Abstract: During ECOC2019, IMEC, the world's leading nanoelectronics and digital technology research and the center for innovation, in collaboration with IDLab and Photonics Research Group of the Imec Research Laboratory at the Ghent University, jointly released the milestones of important achievements in silicon photonic (SiPho) technology research. The demonstrated construction architecture provides an achievable path for next-generation data center switches with 400 Gb / s, higher-speed optical links and co-packaged optical device that will be key technologies for data transmission in future data centers. Highlights of this achievement include: TSV-assisted, high-density (Tbps / mm2) CMOS-SiPho optical transceiver prototype, low-power 106Gb / s PAM4 SiPho transmitter, high-speed germanium / silicon APD, and ultra-wideband low-loss Single-mode fiber coupler.

ICCSZ reports that during ECOC2019, IMEC, the world's leading nanoelectronics and digital technology research and the center for innovation, in collaboration with IDLab and Photonics Research Group of the Imec Research Laboratory at the Ghent University, jointly released the milestones of important achievements in silicon photonic (SiPho) technology research.. The demonstrated construction architecture provides an achievable path for next-generation data center switches with 400 Gb / s, higher-speed optical links and co-packaged optical components that will be key technologies for data transmission in future data centers. Highlights of this achievement include: TSV-assisted, high-density (Tbps / mm2) CMOS-SiPho optical transceiver prototype, low-power 106Gb / s PAM4 SiPho transmitter, high-speed germanium / silicon APD, and ultra-wideband low-loss Single-mode fiber coupler.

As we all know, the exponential growth of the Internet and related applications have promoted data center deployment of optical interconnect technology to achieve sustainable growth performance, lower power consumption and smaller space. In the next five years, the capacity of the optical link in the data center will be upgraded to 400Gb / s by multiplexing the four 100Gb / s PAM4 channels. As a result, the total bandwidth that a single data center switch needs to process will reach 51.2 Tb / s, it needs to be equipped with ultra-high-density silicon photonic transceiver technology and a highly integrated and commonly packaged switch CMOS chip.

In order to help the industry meet these challenging and universal requirements, IMEC and its Ghent University Research Lab are developing key technologies to build the architecture that use the IMEC silicon photonics platform to inject high-speed electronics into 200mm and 300mm wafers.

Joris Van Campenhout, Imec Optical I / O Engineering Director commented: "Our R & D system has achieved sustainable improvements in different levels of silicon photonics technology, whether its process integration, individual devices, or sub-module level. We are willing to share our research progress with the industry and universities on ECOC and look forward to continuing to help the communications industry in Europe or other regions better meet the key challenges of next-generation optical interconnect technology."

One of the highlights of Imec's display during EOCO is the industry's first hybrid FinFET CMOS / silicon photonic transceiver technology with TSV assistance, which uses NRZ modulation and operating at a rate of 40Gb/s. The prototype achieves an impressive bandwidth density (1Tbps / mm2) at ultra-low power consumption, providing an implementation way for future data center switches with ultra-dense co-packaged optical devices.

Imec and Ghent University also showed a 106Gb / s optical transmitter, which uses the PAM4 modulation format. This four-level modulation format has been widely adopted by the industry in recent years. It is used as a 53GBd single-channel transmission for ultra-500 meters distance scenarios. Compared with other PAM4 optical transmitters, the IMEC solution does not require any equivalent method or digital signal processing. It integrates two parallel GeSi electro-absorption modulators, and the result is the most compact and low-power (1.5pJ / b ) optical transmitter that can transmit data at 106 Gb / s on a single-module fiber over 1km.

At the same time, Imec also showed its optimized edge coupler design, based on a hybrid Si / SiN photonics platform. Compared to industry standard single-mode fiber, this innovation provides better performance for the layer stack and operates in the O and C bands, the coupling efficiency of a single fiber is 1.5dB. At the receiving end, Imec has introduced high-speed Ge / Si avalanche photodetectors (APDs) with multiplied gains of 8 and 32 GHz bandwidths, showing significant potential in improving receiver sensitivity and optical link budget at 40Gb/s and higher rates.