Optoelectronics project initiated by packaging group

Aug. 11, 2010
Scottsdale, AZ--The High Density Packaging User Group International will start a new project group focusing on optical interconnection for data transmission.

Scottsdale, AZ--The High Density Packaging User Group International Inc. (HDP User Group), a global nonprofit cooperative research and development organization for the electronics-manufacturing industries, will start a new project group focusing on optoelectronics. At this time the project is in definition stage, and open to all member and nonmember companies interested in the focus area.

The HDP User Group's optical-interconnect project aims to alleviate intracabinet interconnect bottlenecks envisaged in terabit-per-second (Tbps)-scale systems by connecting electronic devices with optical paths. The project is developing optical interconnect architectures that can respond to capacity and energy efficiency needs of future high-speed systems such as high-performance computers, servers, routers, and switches.

Although the primary focus is on data and telecommunication segments, the aim is to provide a generic technology platform for a wide range of applications, for example avionics. The project addresses the key challenges prohibiting implementation of optical technology for inter- and intra-card links, including robust optical connections, optical design and simulation practices, compliance of optical materials and components with the manufacturing and assembly processes, and lack of system-level performance and reliability data.

Optical backplanes
In the first stage, fully optical chip-to-chip data links will be demonstrated with optical backplanes containing integrated polymer waveguides. Key building blocks needed to realize the optical backplane, including novel system and link architectures, optoelectronic packaging, optical channels, optical interfaces, and CMOS I/O circuitry, will be studied with experiments.

"To exploit the full promise of the optical technology, we need to re-evaluate system architectures to benefit from the capabilities of optical interconnects, and we need some more new innovations and breakthroughs in the key technologies involved in the optical technology, especially optical printed circuit boards and optical backplane connectors," says Shaoyong Xiang of Huawei Technologies and a member of the project.

On-chip photonic interconnects
The system evaluation metrics include cost, size, power efficiency, electrical interface, latency and bit-error-ratio (BER). Passive alignment, low-cost packaging, automated assembly, and testing are targeted for cost viability. For pursuing the long-term vision of an optical communications system with embedded optical waveguides on cards and backplanes connecting on-chip silicon photonic interconnects, the project aims to demonstrate technical viability and cost competitiveness of optics with practical steps. This means that near-term solutions are a combination of fiber and waveguide technologies.

The second step is to demonstrate optics within an application--for instance, within a multiprocessor architecture. "We expect adaptation of optical backplanes within 4 to 5 years. Yet, before commercial viability, cost must be comparable to copper, and technical issues, especially at connections, must be solved. Also, the supply chain needs to exist with confidence of the new materials, their compatibility, performance and reliability. And, we need standards around the technology. Ability to combine efforts through industry collaboration gives possibilities to reach major technical breakthroughs, pave the way for wider acceptance and acceleration of commercializing the technology," says Marika Immonen, manager of optical interconnects research and development at TTM Meadville and leader of the project.

The field of optoelectronics is so diverse with numerous technical issues that the project team has already created subgroups of the main opto project in the areas of devices, waveguides, architecture, and standards recommendations. As more areas of interest are identified, the project team is prepared to add additional subgroups. The HDP User Group welcomes the input and participation of any organization interested in the field of optoelectronics.

For further information on the new project, see http://hdpug.org/content/optoelectronics.

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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