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21 November 2016

EC project COSMICC to develop silicon photonics-based transceivers for low-cost, high-speed datacoms

The project COSMICC - funded by the European Union (EU) under its Horizon 2020 program H2020-ICT-2015 - has been launched to enable mass commercialization of silicon photonics-based transceivers to meet future data-transmission requirements in data centers and super computing systems.

COSMICC will combine CMOS electronics and silicon photonics with innovative high-throughput, fiber-attachment techniques. These scalable solutions aim to provide performance improvement an order of magnitude better than existing vetical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) transceivers, and the COSMICC-developed technology will address future data-transmission needs with a target cost per bit that traditional wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) transceivers cannot meet.

For example, the project partners are focusing on developing mid-board optical transceivers with data rates up to 2.4Tb/s with 200Gb/s per fiber using 12 fibers. The devices will consume less than 2pJ/bit, and cost about €0.2/Gb/s.

Coordinated by micro/nanotechnology R&D center CEA-Leti of Grenoble, France, the 11 project partners (from five countries) also include STMicroelectronics (France), STMicroelectronics (Italy), University Pavia (Italy), Finisar (Germany), Vario-Optics (Switzerland), Seagate (UK), University Paris-Sud (France), University of St. Andrews (UK), University Southampton (UK) and Ayming (France).

"By enhancing an R&D photonic integration platform from project member STMicroelectronics, the partners in COSMICC aim to demonstrate the transceivers by 2019," says project leader Ségolène Olivier of Leti. "We also plan to establish a new value chain that will facilitate rapid adoption of the technologies developed by our members."

Several technological developments will be used to boost the photonic integration platform's high-data-rate performance, while also reducing power consumption.

A first improvement will be the introduction of a silicon nitride (SiN) layer that will allow the development of temperature-insensitive multiplex/demultiplex (mux/demux) devices for coarse WDM operation. In addition, the SiN layer will serve as an intermediate wave-guiding layer for optical input/output to and from the photonic chip.

Additional steps will enhance modulator performance to 50Gb/s, while making the transceivers more compact and reducing energy consumption. The partners will also evaluate capacitive modulators, slow-wave depletion modulators with 1D periodicity, and more advanced approaches. These include germanium‐silicon (GeSi) electro-absorption modulators with tunable Si composition and photonic crystal electro-refraction modulators to make micron-scale devices. In addition, a hybrid III-V on Si laser will be integrated in the SOI/SiN platform in the more advanced transmitter circuits.

Project demonstrators will be tested in both laboratory and field environments.

Tags: Leti silicon photonics

Visit: www.h2020-cosmicc.com

Visit: www.leti.fr

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