CMOS photonics breaks through

April 1, 2008
A complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) optical-transceiver module has been introduced by Lightwire (Allentown, PA).

A complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) optical-transceiver module has been introduced by Lightwire (Allentown, PA). According to the company its device is the first commercially available standards-compliant CMOS photonics product. The 10 Gbit/s Ethernet (GE) small-form-factor pluggable long-reach multimode (SFP+ LRM) transceiver operates at 1310 nm and is used to connect servers and network equipment in Ethernet networks at distances up to 220 m. Not only does this module offer the low-cost and scalable potential of CMOS manufacturing, but it also reduces operating-power requirements by more than half with superior signal integrity and wider operating-temperature range compared to currently available 10 GE optoelectronic products.

The device is based on Lightwire’s ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) interconnect-platform technology jointly developed with the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing (both in Singapore) and integrates light-modulation circuitry onto silicon. “Lightwire’s Mach-Zehnder interferometer circuit is the most highly optimized silicon-based modulator and driver design I have seen,” said Thomas Koch, professor in Electronics and Computer Engineering and Physics at Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA), and member of Lightwire’s Technical Advisory Board. Production units should be available in the second half of 2008. Contact Kal Shastri at [email protected].

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