OneChip Photonics Announces New Family of Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC)-Based 100Gbps Optical Interconnect Solutions for Data Center Interconnect Applications

OneChip’s fully integrated 100Gbps solutions provide a myriad of advantages over solutions based on silicon photonics, discrete components and VCSELs

OTTAWA, Ontario — (BUSINESS WIRE) — March 13, 2013 — OneChip Photonics today announced a new family of Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC)-based 100Gbps (gigabits per second) optical interconnect solutions, which will enable transceiver manufacturers to produce high-speed, low-power and small-size modules for Data Center Interconnect (DCI) applications.

OneChip’s fully integrated 100Gbps solutions provide a myriad of advantages over solutions based on silicon photonics, discrete components and vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs).

This new family of 100Gbps solutions builds on the PIC-based receiver chips that OneChip announced, and made available for partner testing, in 2012. OneChip will display these PIC-based 100Gbps solutions in Booth #1127 at the OFC/NFOEC 2013 Exposition, scheduled for March 19-21 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

Jim Hjartarson, CEO of OneChip Photonics, said, “OneChip can provide transceiver and system manufacturers with the integrated solutions that they need to meet their cost, power, size and speed requirements, without all of the problems inherent with silicon photonics solutions.”

Vladimir Kozlov, Founder and CEO of LightCounting, a leading optical communications market research company, said, “Integration of optics and electronics on one chip holds strong promise for providing low power, cost-effective 100Gbps interface modules for data center applications. These attributes will be important in this high-volume market. In fact, this market is only going to be high volume if low power and low cost products are available.”

According to LightCounting, 100 Gigabit Ethernet transceiver sales are expected to grow from $144 million in 2012 to almost $700 million in 2017 (at 36% CAGR).

Integrated Solutions are Needed to Meet Cost, Power & Size Requirements in the Data Center

System integrators want to drive costs down to the point where 100Gbps solutions are as cost-effective to implement as 10Gbps solutions are today. Currently, 100GBASE-LR4 implementations are far too expensive to be useful in data center interconnect applications.

Further, transceiver providers want to fit 100Gbps solutions into QSFP (Quad Small Form factor Pluggable) modules, as QSFPs represent the smallest form factor for packaged transceivers, but they must dissipate only 3.5 watts of power or less.

The only way to meet the cost, power and size requirements, for DCI applications, is through tightly integrated chipsets and sub-assemblies. This is where OneChip’s breakthrough Photonic Integrated Circuit technology comes in.

OneChip monolithically integrates all of the optical functions required for an optical transceiver into a single Indium Phosphide (InP)-based chip. All of the active components (Distributed Feedback “DFB” laser, Electro-Absorption Modulator “EAM,” and Waveguide Photodetector “WPD”) and passive components (Wavelength Division Multiplexing “WDM” combiner, splitter and Spot-Size Converter “SSC”) of the chip are, uniquely, integrated in one epitaxial growth step – without re-growth or post-growth modification of the epitaxial material.

These Multi-Guide Vertical Integration (MGVI)-based PICs enable numerous cost, power and size advantages over competing solutions based on silicon photonics, discrete components and VCSELs.

Why OneChip’s PIC-based 100Gbps Solutions Are Better Than Solutions based on Silicon Photonics, Discrete Components and VCSELs

Because silicon cannot lase and also detect in the required spectral range (1300nm), silicon photonics providers must add materials which can, for example, bond III-V semiconductors (for lasing) or epitaxially overgrow Germanium (for detection) on top of silicon.

Thus, silicon photonics chips cannot be manufactured simply by using standard CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) materials and processes. This also makes adding photonics capability to advanced sub-micron silicon process nodes cost prohibitive. These inherent drawbacks prevent silicon photonics solutions from achieving the cost and size requirements – and the ability to manufacture in volume through standard electronics foundries – needed in Data Center Interconnect applications.

By contrast, OneChip’s single-growth MGVI platform eliminates the need for multiple epitaxial regrowth steps, in which material from the previous growth step(s) that is selectively etched out must be replaced with another material regrowth step(s). Consequently, OneChip can partner with standard, high-volume Indium Phosphide electronics foundries to fabricate its PIC-based solutions, which improves economies of scale. [See related OneChip news releases, issued today, announcing OneChip’s relationships with IQE and Global Communication Semiconductors (GCS).]

Further, OneChip’s MGVI platform in Indium Phosphide is based on the same process that inherently produces the best and fastest Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors (HBTs) used in Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFICs). As such, the company also will be able to integrate electronics, such as Transimpedance Amplifiers (TIAs) and modulator drivers, within a commercially available and volume-scalable process. The silicon photonics dream of leveraging high-volume electronic chip production, while combining photonics and electronics onto the same substrate, is ironically best realized in Indium Phosphide.

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