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Posted: February 25, 2008

Lightwire Introduces Production-Ready 10 Gbps CMOS Photonics Technology, Defines Roadmap to 100 Gbps

(Nanowerk News) Lightwire, Inc., the technology leader in CMOS photonics interconnects, unveiled its 100 Gbps interconnect technology roadmap at OFC today with the introduction of its first 10GbE SFP+ LRM optical module, the LSME10XX. The new optical module uses Lightwire's innovative CMOS photonics technology to achieve breakthrough power performance and signal integrity. Concurrently, the company announced its plans to use its patented CMOS photonics technology to deliver high bandwidth solutions at the 10, 40 and 100 Gbps bandwidth rates.
Initially, Lightwire will use its CMOS photonics technology to deliver 10 Gbps Ethernet LRM modules (supporting distances of up to 220m) with devices manufactured in Chartered Semiconductor's high-volume CMOS manufacturing fabrication facilities in Singapore. These devices provide superior 10 Gbps signal integrity at less than half the power dissipation of competing devices, ( < 400 mW). Lightwire's near term plans include using these building blocks to introduce a range of standard Long Reach (10 to 40 km) products for the Ethernet, Fibre Channel and Sonet protocols as well as Short Reach (10-30m) products using SFP+ active cable solutions. The next stage will be multi-channel solutions that share a single laser to provide multi-channel links at 40 to 100 Gbps.
"Lightwire's CMOS photonics technology will enable us to deliver interconnect solutions that meet the immediate bandwidth requirements of the computing, networking and communications industry with a platform that is scalable to meet future needs," said Lightwire CEO Vijay Albuquerque. "We are first to deliver CMOS photonics technology into the mainstream 10 Gbps interconnect market and our technology roadmap will lead directly to 40 and 100 Gbps low-power interconnects. As copper and traditional optoelectronics technologies run into power consumption, signal integrity and cost limitations, the industry needs a different approach to obtain high bandwidth communications. Lightwire's CMOS photonics technology is the solution. It leverages the advantages of CMOS manufacturing -- low power, high density, and low manufacturing cost. Lightwire's CMOS photonics 10 GbE SFP+ modules are the proof of the viability of our advanced technology, and use much less power, provide outstanding signal integrity and operate over a wider and more useful temperature range than competing copper or optoelectronic solutions. Our roadmap allows us to use the same fundamental technology to provide 40 and 100 Gbps solutions."
"We use an advanced Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) approach that is a major breakthrough in CMOS photonics design," said Kal Shastri, Ph.D. Lightwire founder and CTO. "Unlike other silicon photonic approaches, our technology applies a patent protected SISCAP (Semiconductor Insulator Semiconductor CAPacitor) structure (see attached figure 1) that maximizes the overlap between photons and electrons in the CMOS technology. This enables high bandwidth signal modulation with very low power consumption. Further, the structure is scalable with the processing technology. This means that we can move the design seamless from 130nm to 45nm and smaller CMOS geometries, taking advantage of the economies of scale made by the CMOS manufacturing industry. Other approaches work in the lab, but won't make the leap from lab to production easily, nor will they scale down easily due to the complex structures and drive circuits they need. This gives Lightwire a huge advantage in developing real-world products using the advantages of CMOS photonics."
"The appeal of CMOS photonics is threefold. First, silicon is much easier to work with than materials such as III-V," points out Karen Liu, Ph.D., Vice President at Ovum RHK. "Second, CMOS silicon in particular has very advanced process capabilities and available commercial fab capacity behind it. That translates not only to economies of scale but the sort of yields that enable complex or parallel devices. Finally, digital CMOS is great for simplified control circuits that deliver high-speed and low power consumption. Lightwire's patented SISCAP structure brings all three of these advantages over to the photonic domain."
"The Lightwire engineering team has done a remarkable job of developing the most highly optimized silicon-based modulator and driver designs I have seen," said Lehigh University Professor Thomas L. Koch, Ph.D. and member of the Lightwire Technical Advisory Board. "Because the Lightwire, Institute of MicroElectronics (IME) and Chartered engineering teams have realized their designs in Chartered's high-volume CMOS foundry, Lightwire is well positioned to achieve unprecedented levels of integration, compact size, low power and cost reduction." Dr. Koch, a leading authority on photonic integration and silicon photonics, is a joint Professor in Electronics and Computer Engineering and Physics at Lehigh University and Director of the Center for Optical Technologies.
About Lightwire
Lightwire, Inc. delivers industry-leading 10 Gbps and faster interconnects for next-generation networking, communications and server/storage systems. Lightwire's high-speed interconnects exploit its patented CMOS photonics Lightwire Application Specific Integrated Circuit (LASIC) interconnect platform to achieve unprecedented signal integrity, power dissipation, and scalability. Lightwire has applied for over 120 patents with more than 50 granted for its innovative CMOS photonics technology. Lightwire is a privately funded fabless interconnect company with offices in Allentown, PA and Palo Alto, CA. Lightwire's key R&D and manufacturing partners are located in Singapore and Thailand. More information about Lightwire can be found at
Source: Lightwire
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