Integrated 100Gb/s Transmitter Chips
Bandwidth needs in the DOE national backbone have been increasing by 10x every 4 years for the past three decades with terabit links expected by 2014. Such links will likely be based on emerging coherent technologies, which use advanced multilevel modulation formats (phase and polarization) and coherent detection followed by sophisticated digital signal processing to enable data rates & gt;100Gbps without the signal degradation that plagues traditional modulation techniques at datarates & gt;25Gbps. Unfortunately modules based on this technology cannot drop-in and replace the small form factor 10Gbps tunable XFP and SFP+ modules that are the workhorse of todays backbone network and were enabled by Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) containing a tunable laser and 10Gbps modulator on a single chip since the discrete components used for 100G surpass the performance available in todays PICs. For example, the coherent detection scheme requires a narrow tunable laser linewidth ( & lt;100kHz), a requirement currently only solved by external-cavity tunable lasers, which cannot be integrated with a modulator on a single chip. Furthermore, advanced format encoding currently uses multiple LiNBO3 modulators due to their high performance, which despite being integrated into a single chip are larger than an entire XFP module. The power and size of current 5x7 Module solutions for 100Gbps transmission, therefore, are determined by the need to combine multiple discretely packaged optical components in the module. Such technology will not be able to support terabit link port density needs. New advances are needed that improve the performance of individual semiconductor chip-based components and also allow the integration of all of these components into a single chip enabling the power and size of a typical XFP module today. The Aurrion heterogeneous integration platform, which leverages the properties of both III-V semiconductors and silicon, will enable the two key components of a low power consumption coherent 100Gbps+ transmitter to be integrated onto a single silicon chip: a narrow linewidth ( & lt;100kHz) tunable laser and advanced format modulators with very low (1V) drive voltage. These key devices are able to leverage the properties of both III-V materials and silicon since the integration is done as part of foundry fabrication at the wafer level rather than at the packaging level through the integration of separately fabricated devices. Wafer scale integration and foundry fabrication also will ultimately enable a significantly lower cost for these modules. Aurrion has partnered with Acacia Communications, who is the technology leader in 100G+ transmitter modules. Aurrion will develop the integrated 100Gbps coherent transmitter chip, which Acacia will then characterize, determining not only the technologys impact on 100Gbps module but also on future 400Gbps and 1Tbps systems based on the same photonic circuit building blocks.
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