World’s First 10Gbit CMOS Photonics Platform

Luxtera explains the role of SOI in its new technology.

Luxtera Inc., a fabless semicon-ductor company and the world leader in silicon photonics, announced recently that it has solved the longstanding problem of building advanced photonic interfaces into mass-produced silicon chips. For the first time, it is possible to integrate high-speed optical fiber interfaces in silicon devices produced in an industry- standard CMOS fabrication process. This capability will give computer and communication OEMs the performance benefits of optical-fiber communications, delivered with the economics of silicon.

Key to the technology is the use of Soitec™ SOI wafers. SOI’s buried oxide provides the isolation required to contain light in waveguides used for transporting light around the chip. At the same time, one can take advantage of SOI’s lower parasitic capacitance and enhanced electrical isolation to build high performance electronic circuits on the same chip.

Luxtera’s CMOS Photonics™ technology delivers the 10Gbit/sec optical modulation required for practical high-speed optical fiber communication. Luxtera chips are built in the same CMOS process that Luxtera’s development partner, Freescale Semiconductor, uses for mass production of their leading-edge microprocessors. The integration of 10G photonics into regular silicon processes is a highly disruptive event for both the semiconductor and optics industries, because the integration of optical interfaces into VLSI chips will dramatically reduce the cost of high speed links. •

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