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Silicon Photonics Reports Highest Serial Data Rate

GOLETA, Calif., and ARMONK, N.Y., March 14, 2014 — New silicon photonic technology has demonstrated the essential elements to establish next-generation data centers, including reach and power consumption.

The new technology, developed jointly by Aurrion Inc. and IBM, touts the highest serial data rate for a full silicon photonics optical link. It was created using Aurrion’s heterogeneously integrated III-V/silicon modulator and photodetector components, as well as low-power 32-nm CMOS drivers from IBM.

The ensuing optical link demonstrated error-free results for data rates up to 30 Gb/s.

As part of the study and development, the optical transmitter and receiver assemblies were connected with single-mode fiber lengths of up to 10 km, with the researchers finding no observable performance penalties at 25 Gb/s. These transmitters and receivers use just 75 mW of power, which is much smaller than is consumed by existing 10-km-reach optics.

“This work shows that the optimization of the modulator and photodiode for CMOS electronics produces the very low-power optical links needed for datacenters and high-performance computing,” said Dr. Greg Fish, chief technical officer at Aurrion.

It will enable systems to scale farther with continually growing bandwidth requirements.

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