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Silicon Photonics

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Entries in VCSELs (22)

Thursday
Sep152016

Former Compass Networks staff look to silicon photonics 

The Compass Networks team that designed a novel chip with optical input-output is exploring new opportunities now that the IP core router venture has closed it doors. 

The team plans to develop chips using silicon photonics for input-output and is involved in a European Commission (EC) Horizon 2020 project dubbed L3Matrix that will make such a chip for the data centre. 

 

Kobi HasharoniCompass Network was the first company to sell a commercial product - an IP core router - that used an ASIC co-packaged with optics. The IP router was sold to several leading service providers including NTT Communications and Comcast but the venture ultimately failed.

Compass Networks has now become a software company, while its chip R&D team decided to spin off to keep the co-packaged IC and photonics technology alive. 

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Sunday
Aug282016

Heterogeneous integration comes of age

Silicon photonics luminaries series

Interview 7: Professor John Bowers

 

August has been a notable month for John Bowers.

Juniper Networks announced its intention to acquire Aurrion, the US silicon photonics start-up that Bowers co-founded with Alexander Fang. And Intel, a company Bowers worked with on a hybrid integration laser-bonding technique, unveiled its first 100-gigabit silicon photonics transceivers.

 

Professor John BowersBower, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), first started working in photonics in 1981 while at AT&T Bell Labs.

When he became interested in silicon photonics, it still lacked a good modulator and laser. "If you don't have a laser and a modulator, or a directly modulated laser, it is not a very interesting chip,” says Bowers. "So I started thinking how to do that."

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Sunday
Aug212016

Intel's 100-gigabit silicon photonics move

Intel has unveiled two 100-gigabit optical modules for the data centre made using silicon photonics technology.

 

Alexis Bjorlin

The PSM4 and CWDM4/CLR4 100-gigabit modules mark the first commercial application of a hybrid integration technique for silicon photonics, dubbed heterogeneous integration, that Intel has been developing for years.

Intel's 100-gigabit module announcement follows the news that Juniper Networks has entered into an agreement to acquire start-up, Aurrion, for $165 million. Aurrion is another silicon photonics player developing this hybrid integration technology for its products. 

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Tuesday
Jul262016

The ecosystem for silicon photonics starts to take shape

Silicon photonics luminaries series

 

Interview 6: imec - Philippe Absil and Joris Van Campenhout

 

Imec has a unique vantage point when it comes to the status and direction of silicon photonics.  

The Belgium nano-electronics research centre gets to see prototype designs nearing commercialisation due to its silicon photonics integration platform and foundry service. “We allow companies to build prototypes using a robust silicon photonics technology,” says Philippe Absil, department director for 3D and optical technologies at imec.

 

Philippe Absil

Imec also works intimately with several partners on longer-term research, one being Huawei. This optical I/O R&D activity is part of imec’s CORE CMOS scaling R&D programme which as well as Huawei includes GlobalFoundries, Intel, Micron, Qualcomm, Samsung, SK Hynix, Sony and TSMC. The research is sufficiently far ahead to be deemed pre-competitive such that all the firms collaborate. 

For silicon photonics, the optical I/O research includes optical integration schemes, new device concepts and new materials. “The aim is to bring silicon photonics technology to the next level in order to resolve today’s challenges,” says Absil.  

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Wednesday
Feb102016

Start-up Sicoya targets chip-to-chip interfaces 

Sicoya has developed a tiny silicon photonics modulator which it is using to design chip-to-chip optical interfaces. The German start-up believes such optical chips - what it calls application-specific photonic integrated circuits or ASPICs - will be needed in the data centre, first for servers and then switches and routers.

“The trend we are seeing is the optics moving very close to the processor,” says Sven Otte, Sicoya’s CEO.

Sicoya was founded last year and raised €3.5 million ($3.9 million) towards the end of 2015. Many of the company’s dozen staff previously worked at the Technical University of Berlin. Sicoya expects to grow the company’s staff to 20 by the year end.  

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Sunday
Oct112015

ECOC 2015: Reflections

Gazettabyte asked industry executives what trends and highlights they noted at the recent European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) event, held in Valencia. Here are three views.

 

Valery Tolstikhin, head of a design consultancy, Intengent


ECOC was a big show and included a number of satellite events, such as the 6th European Forum on Photonic Integration, the 3rd Optical Interconnect in Data Center Symposium and Market Focus, all of which I attended. So, lots of information to digest. 

My focus was mainly on data centre optical interconnects and photonic integration.

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Wednesday
Aug122015

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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