High baudrate optical transmitters based on micro-assembled traveling wave equalizers

01 November 2019 → 31 October 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Microwave and millimeter wave technology
    • Optical fibre communications
    • Analogue, RF and mixed signal integrated circuits
optical transmitters
Project description

In the past decade, we have witnessed the emergence of data centers which underpin video-on-demand, social media, internet search engines etc. These data centers consist of racks of servers, interconnected with fiber-optic links. Continued pressure on data centers is driving a need for higher capacity, lower cost transceivers, with a need for terabit/s devices required ten years from now. The challenge is to realize these transceivers in the same physical volume as today's state-of-the-art 100Gb/s capable modules: this brings unprecedented challenges in terms of integration density and energy efficiency of the transceivers. Today, a 100Gb/s transceiver is built from a few (e.g. 4) parallel lanes operating at no more than 25 to 50Gbaud. This project will break through the 100Gbaud barrier through the use of traveling wave equalizers (overcoming bandwidth limitations of optics and electronics) realized in conventional Silicon based semiconductor processes (unlike the much more expensive semiconductor processes used today for these speeds), and assembled using a new technique called micro transfer printing. This technique allows for ultra dense integration of optics and electronics (eliminating the bondpads required to connect chips with the outside world) and one order of magnitude less expensive chip area compared to conventional assembly methods. This project will develop optimized designs using this technique and demonstrate these in a >100Gbaud capable optical transmitter.