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IBM Cloud Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Reinhard Brandstädter, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, John Esposito

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30Gbps, 10 km Optical Link Showcases Performance of Aurrion Silicon Photonic Technology in OFC Postdeadline Paper

The highest serial data-rate for a full silicon photonics optical link is being reported by IBM, in collaboration with Aurrion Inc., demonstrating the reach, power consumption, and cost needed for next-generation datacenters. This work will be presented on March 13, 2014 as part of the post deadline session at the Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference in San Francisco, California.

“Aurrion has previously demonstrated uncooled WDM 4x25Gb/s transceivers by integrating lasers, modulators and photodiodes on silicon. 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, CTO of Aurrion.

Constructed from Aurrion photonic components packaged with low-power IBM 32nm CMOS drivers, the optical link demonstrated error-free for data rates up to 30Gb/s. To test the feasibility of meeting interconnect reaches required of today’s largest datacenters, the optical transmitter and receiver assemblies were connected with single-mode fiber lengths of up to 10-km, demonstrating no observable performance penalties at 25 Gb/s. Using only 75 mW, the extremely low power consumption of the optical transmitter and receiver are significantly smaller than the watts of power consumed by today’s 10km-reach optics, enabling systems to scale farther with ever growing bandwidth requirements.

The heterogeneously integrated III-V/Si modulator and photodetector components used in this work were fabricated on the same silicon platform as the uncooled, high performance, WDM laser arrays Aurrion presented at OFC in 2013. In combination, these three components showcase the key photonic functionality needed to deliver WDM transceivers which meet the bandwidth, reach, cost, and power requirements required for next-generation datacenter interconnects.

Daryl Inniss, VP & Practice Leader of Components, Ovum Inc., said, “A low-power, silicon photonic, WDM transceiver with 25 Gb/s channels would address key datacenter network needs particularly as it provides a path to meet future bandwidth requirements using existing fiber infrastructures.”

About Aurrion

Aurrion is a rapidly growing company based in Goleta, California. Aurrion’s platform enables all the elements of photonics systems, including active components such as lasers, modulators and amplifiers, to be fabricated on the wafer scale with the performance of traditional III-V materials and the control and cost-structure of silicon foundries. Aurrion is working with system integrators to produce the next generation of photonic systems that leverage the size, cost and power savings that are enabled by this platform.

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