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Luxtera claims first single chip dual XFP transceiver

29 Aug 2006

Will permit economically-feasible fiber-to-chip connectivity. Technology is "the future" of optical interfaces, developer claims.

Luxtera, based in Carlsbad, Ca, US, a developer of CMOS photonic technology has announced a single-chip integrated photonics-electronics device implemented in a standard CMOS process.

The technology integrates high-performance optics and mainstream electronics on a single die, bringing fiber connectivity directly to a chip.

"Fabrication in a standard, high volume 0.13 micron SOI-CMOS process makes fiber optics feasible and economical for everyday applications," the company states. Additional digital logic can be integrated into the same chip with optical devices, reducing both device size and power consumption.

The technology incorporates two lasers and photodetectors mounted directly on a monolithic CMOS die that also includes all logic equivalent to two complete XFP modules including TransImpedance Amplifiers (TIA), Mach-Zehnder modulators, as well as transmit and receive Clock and Data Recovery (CDR) circuits. This complete single chip solution is one-quarter the size of existing XFP module solutions.

Luxtera is currently sampling prototype devices for preliminary testing by strategic development partners. The company will launch a commercial transceiver product line based on the technology early in 2007.

Initial product offerings will comprise multi-port transceivers for communications, storage, and computing applications.

The first commercial application is expected to be high speed, high bandwidth enterprise data communications. Driven by the high bandwidth capabilities of new multi-core, high performance processors, the need for low cost, low latency and low power 10G, and faster interconnects is here, the company adds.

"The potential impact on the industry of combining photonic and electronic elements on a single CMOS die is substantial," said Lawrence Gasman, president of CIR. "Many applications, including those in the cost sensitive consumer markets, will benefit from the improvements in cost, power consumption and size."

"CMOS Photonics technology will enable the widespread adoption of 10G interconnects, which today are very expensive to deploy, by driving the cost of 10G optical ports to well below $100."

As a result of Luxtera's technology, the cost of optical interfaces are reaching those of copper with the added benefits of lower power, lower latency, smaller footprint, longer reach and less expensive cabling. For complete link solutions, the technology provides 7X power reduction, 40X reach, 100X lower latency with scalability to 1000X the bandwidth of 10GBASE-T.

"This technology is the future of optical interfaces," said Marek Tlalka, vice president of marketing at Luxtera. "Traditional discrete optical solutions are bulky and costly. Emerging 10G copper interfaces are also bulky, power hungry and extremely limited in their reach. Our advanced developments eliminate these constraints to commercialization and, for the first time, render fiber optic performance at costs associated with copper interfaces a reality."

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