Thyristor-HFET logic based on optical signal transfer
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
The digital signal processor is currently dominated exclusively by CMOS technology. This is largely due to the fact that it is the only low power (VLSI density) technology available. However, CMOS is near the end of its scaling potential and it has a severe liability for space applications due to a weakness to radiation. Recent progress in integrated optoelectronics has indicated dramatic performance improvements in clock and data recovery and in the mux/demux operations are possible. This may also apply to digital logic functions. For example the basic flip flop function could be implemented with EO devices activated by optical signals and producing optical outputs. Such approaches could reduce the number of devices and the power while simultaneously increasing the speed. ODIS proposes a new technology base to enable this digital flip flop implementation. The latching function is provided by an EO thyristor which produces laser light in the on state. Optically activated transistors control the switching functions. This approach is compatible with optical signal transport, with on chip optical clock generation and timing control and with optical I/O. In this work, ODIS will develop J-K flip flops and their related synchronous circuits based on a new GaAs optoelectronic integration platform. BENEFIT: The digital processor market is several billion dollars with steady growth potential based upon an expending PC industry. As CMOS is constrained by power and speed , the opportunity for GaAs based circuits is significant. The wireless industry is already using all of the GaAs amplifiers that are produced. One can therefore expect a market opportunity for GaAs based digital products with large up-side potential. Digital products can now be added to a growing number of markets addressed by integrated optoelectronics including AD converters, imager products, parallel optical data links, optical interface circuits, phased array receivers and other markets currently dominated by Si.
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