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Silicon Photonics

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Entries in Luxtera (10)


ST makes its first PSM4 optical engine deliveries  

Flavio Benetti is upbeat about the prospects of silicon photonics. “Silicon photonics as a market is at a turning point this year,” he says.

What gives Benetti confidence is the demand he is seeing for 100-gigabit transceivers in the data centre. “From my visibility today, the tipping point is 2016,” says Benetti, group vice president and general manager, digital and mixed processes ASIC division at STMicroelectronics.


Flavio Benetti

Benetti and colleagues at ST have spent the last four years working to bring to market the silicon photonics technology that the chip company licensed from Luxtera.

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Silicon photonics: "The excitement has gone"

The opinion of industry analysts regarding silicon photonics is mixed at best. More silicon photonics products are shipping but challenges remain.


Part 1: An analyst perspective

"The excitement has gone,” says Vladimir Kozlov, CEO of LightCounting Market Research. “Now it is the long hard work to deliver products.” 

Dale Murray, LightCounting

However, he is less concerned about recent setbacks and slippages for companies such as Intel that are developing silicon photonics products. This is to be expected, he says, as happens with all emerging technologies.

Mark Lutkowitz, principal at consultancy fibeReality, is more circumspect. “As a general rule, the more that reality sets in, the less impressive silicon photonics gets to be,” he says. “The physics is just hard; light is not naturally inclined to work on the silicon the way electronics does.”

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First silicon photonics devices from STMicro in 2014 

STMicroelectronics expects to have first silicon photonics products by mid-2014. The chip company announced the licensing of silicon photonics technology from Luxtera in March 2012. Since then STMicro has been developing its 300mm (12-inch) CMOS wafer manufacturing line for silicon photonics at its fab at Crolles, France.

Flavio Benetti, STMicroelectronics

"We think we are the only ones doing the processing in a 12-inch line," says Flavio Benetti, general manager of  mixed processes division at STMicroelectronics.

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Luxtera's interconnect strategy

Briefing: Silicon photonics

Part 1: Optical interconnect


Luxtera demonstrated a 100 Gigabit QSFP optical module at the OFC/NFOEC 2013 exhibition.


"We're in discussions with a lot of memory vendors, switch vendors and different ASIC providers"

Chris Bergey, Luxtera





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Altera unveils its optical FPGA prototype

Altera has been showcasing a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chip with optical interfaces. The 'optical FPGA' prototype makes use of parallel optical interfaces from Avago Technologies.

Combining the FPGA with optics extends the reach of the chip's transceivers to up to 100m. Such a device, once commercially available, will be used to connect high-speed electronics on a line card without requiring exotic printed circuit board (PCB) materials. An optical FPGA will also be used to link equipment such as Ethernet switches in the data centre.

"It is solving a problem the industry is going to face," says Craig Davis, product marketing manager at Altera. "As you go to faster bit-rate transceivers, the losses on the PCB become huge."

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Luxtera's 100 Gigabit silicon photonics chip

Luxtera has detailed a 4x28 Gigabit optical transceiver chip. The silicon photonics company is aiming the device at embedded applications such as system backplanes and high-performance computing (HPC). The chip is also being used by Molex for 100 Gigabit active optical cables. Molex bought Luxtera's active optical cable business in January 2011.


“Do I want to invest in a copper backplane for a single generation or do I switch over now to optics and have a future-proof three-generation chassis?”  

Marek Tlalka, Luxtera


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The InfiniBand roadmap gets redrawn

The InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) has announced a new roadmap for the low latency bi-directional link. What was Eight Data Rate InfiniBand will now be known as Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) and be upgraded from 20Gbps to 26Gbps per channel. EDR will deliver a 104Gbps data rate in a four-channel InfiniBand (4x) implementation and 312Gbps when used as a 12-channel (12x) interface.


“We can already demonstrate in silicon a 30Gbps transmitter."

Marek Tlalka, Luxtera





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