Posted: October 22, 2008

Breakthrough Silicon Technology Selected to Develop Next-Generation Optical Interconnects

(Nanowerk News) Luxtera, a leader in Silicon CMOS Photonics, today announced it has signed a multi-million dollar contract with Sun Microsystems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Ultraperformance Nanophotonic Intrachip Communications (UNIC) program. Luxtera’s technology and silicon fabrication processes will be used to develop next-generation optical interconnects to produce chip-to-chip and intra-chip interconnect technology. This project will provide the computing industry with low–cost, enhanced high performance computer systems.
Luxtera is the first company to successfully overcome the complex technical obstacles involved with integrating high performance optics directly with silicon electronics on a monolithic CMOS chip. The company’s award-winning Silicon CMOS Photonics optical I/O technology is providing a more efficient way to construct optical transceivers thereby increasing efficiency and reliability. For this project, Luxtera is supplying strategic direction, baseline optoelectronic circuits, tools and device design support for Sun Microsystems, and ultimately DARPA, to produce low-power optical transmitters and receivers.
“We selected Luxtera for its proven technology and processes and overall expertise required for developing next-generation photonics technology for the UNIC program,” said Dr. Jim Mitchell, Sun Fellow & VP, New Technology Adoption, of Sun Microsystems. “They have been extremely successful in the utilization of Silicon CMOS Photonics and delivering direct ‘fiber-to-the-chip’ connectivity in commercial products.”
“A key element of our technology is that we enable fabrication of optical and electronic circuits on a common mainstream CMOS chip,” said Greg Young, CEO of Luxtera. “This capability is the key enabler of next-generation, optically interconnected multi-core processors and computing systems. We are the only company that achieved this capability in high volume production environments as demonstrated by our first commercial product, Blazar - 40 Gigabit Optical Active Cable. We are excited that Sun Microsystems is partnering with Luxtera to utilize our technology and processes for the DARPA UNIC program, and are confident that both parties will be extremely impressed with our capabilities.”
About Luxtera
Luxtera, Inc. is a fabless semiconductor company and a leader in CMOS Silicon Photonics. Luxtera fulfills the world’s insatiable demand for bandwidth by uniting the high performance of fiber-optic communications with the low-cost and high-volume manufacturing advantages of mainstream CMOS Silicon fabrication. The company was founded in 2001 by a team of industry-renowned researchers and technology managers drawn from the communication and semiconductor industries. Luxtera is funded by leading venture capitalists: August Capital, New Enterprise Associates and Sevin Rosen Funds. In Q4 2007, Luxtera began sampling its first commercial product based on its CMOS Photonics technology, Blazar, and will begin production shipments later this year. Luxtera is headquartered in Carlsbad, CA. More information on Luxtera can be found on the company's web site:
About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Sun Microsystems develops the technologies that power the global marketplace. Guided by a singular vision -- "The Network is the Computer" -- Sun drives network participation through shared innovation, community development and open source leadership. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the Web at
Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, Solaris and the Network is the Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and in other countries. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks of SPARC international, Inc. in the US and other countries. Products bearing SPARC trademarks are based upon an architecture developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Source: Luxtera (press release)
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