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Friday
Jun172016

Richard Soref: The new frontiers of silicon photonics  

Silicon photonics luminaries series

Interview 4: Professor Richard Soref

John Bowers acknowledges him with ‘kicking off’ silicon photonics some 30 years ago, while Andrew Rickman refers to him as the ‘founding father of silicon photonics’. An interview with Richard Soref


 

It was fibre-optic communications that started Professor Richard Soref on the path to silicon photonics.

“In 1985, the only photonic chip that could interface to fibre was the III-V semiconductor chip,” says Soref. He wondered if an elemental chip such as silicon could be used, and whether it might even do a better job. He had read in a textbook that silicon is relatively transparent at the 1.30-micron and 1.55-micron wavelengths used for telecom and it inspired him to look at silicon as a material for optical waveguides.

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Wednesday
Jun082016

Nokia’s PSE-2s delivers 400 gigabit on a wavelength

Nokia has unveiled what it claims is the first commercially announced coherent transport system to deliver 400 gigabits of data on a single wavelength. Using multiple 400-gigabit wavelengths across the C-band, 35 terabits of data can be transmitted.

Four hundred gigabit transmission over a single carrier is enabled using Nokia’s second-generation programmable Photonic Service Engine coherent processor, the PSE2, part of several upgrades to Nokia's flagship PSS 1830 family of packet-optical transport platforms.

Kyle Hollasch“One thing that is clear is that performance will have a key role to play in optics for a long time to come, including distance, capacity per fiber, and density,” says Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading.

This limits the appeal of the so-called “white box” trend for many applications in optics, he says: “We will continue to see proprietary advances that boost performance in specific ways and which gain market traction with operators as a result”.

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Saturday
May282016

Professor Graham Reed: The calm before the storm

Silicon photonics luminaries series

Interview 3: Professor Graham Reed

Despite a half-century track record driving technology, electronics is increasingly calling upon optics for help. “It seems to me that this is a marriage that is really going to define the future,” says Graham Reed, professor of silicon photonics at the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre.

 

The optics alongside the electronics does not have to be silicon photonics, he says, but silicon as a photonics technology is attractive for several reasons. 

“What makes silicon photonics interesting is its promise to enable low-cost manufacturing, an important requirement for emerging consumer applications,” says Reed. And being silicon-based, it is much more compatible than other photonics technologies. “It probably means silicon photonics is going to win out,” he says. 

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Monday
May232016

Mario Paniccia: We are just at the beginning

Silicon photonics luminaries series
Interview 2: Mario Paniccia
 
Talking about his time heading Intel’s silicon photonics development programme, Mario Paniccia, spotlights a particularly creative period between 2002 and 2008.  
 
During that time, his Intel team had six silicon photonics papers published in the science journals, Nature and Nature Photonics, and held several world records - for the fastest modulator, first at 1 gigabit, then 10 gigabit and finally 40 gigabit, the first pulsed and continuous-wave Raman silicon laser, the first hybrid silicon laser working with The University of California, Santa Barbara, and the fastest silicon germanium photo-detector operating at 40 gigabit.
 
“These [achievements] were all in one place, labs within 100 yards of each other; you had to pinch yourself sometimes,” he says.

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Thursday
May122016

Optical integration and silicon photonics: A view to 2021

LightCounting Market Research’s recent report on optical integration investigates the global market opportunity for integrated optical components including silicon photonics for the next five years. An interview with LightCounting CEO and report author, Vladimir Kozlov. 

 

LightCounting’s report on photonic integration has several notable findings. The first is that only one in 40 optical components sold in the datacom and telecom markets is an integrated device yet such components account for a third of total revenues.

Another finding is that silicon photonics will not have a significant market impact in the next five years to 2021, although its size will grow threefold in that time.

By 2021, one in 10 optical components will be integrated and will account for 40% of the total market, while silicon photonics will become a $1 billion industry by then. 

 

Integrated optics

“Contrary to the expectation that integration is helping to reduce the cost of components, it is only being used for very high-end products,” says Vladimir Kozlov, CEO of LightCounting.

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Friday
May062016

Tackling system design on a data centre scale 

Silicon photonics luminaries series

Interview 1: Andrew Rickman

Silicon photonics has been a recurring theme in the career of Andrew Rickman. First, as a researcher looking at the feasibility of silicon-based optical waveguides, then as founder of Bookham Technologies, and after that as a board member of silicon photonics start-up, Kotura.

 

Andrew Rickman

Now as CEO of start-up Rockley Photonics, his company is using silicon photonics alongside its custom ASIC and software to tackle a core problem in the data centre: how to connect more and more servers in a cost effective and scaleable way.

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Friday
Apr292016

NeoPhotonics showcases a CFP2-ACO roadmap to 400G

NeoPhotonics has begun sampling its CFP2-ACO, a pluggable module for metro and long-haul optical transport. 

The company demonstrated the CFP2-ACO module transmitting at 100 gigabit using polarisation multiplexed, quadrature phase-shift keying (PM-QPSK) modulation at the recent OFC show. The line-side module is capable of transmitting over 1,000km and also supports PM-16QAM that doubles capacity over metro network distances.

 

Ferris LipscombThe CFP2-ACO is a Class 3 design: the control electronics for the modulator and laser reside on the board, alongside the coherent DSP-ASIC chip.

At OFC, NeoPhotonics also demonstrated single-wavelength 400-gigabit transmission using more advanced modulation and a higher symbol rate, and a short-reach 100-gigabit link for inside the data centre using 4-level pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM4) signalling. 

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