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Tuesday
Sep202016

Ranovus shows 200 gigabit direct detection at ECOC

Ranovus has announced it first direct-detection optical products for applications including data centre interconnect.


Saeid AramidehThe start-up has announced two products to coincide with this week’s ECOC show being held in Dusseldorf, Germany.

One product is a 200 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) dense wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) CFP2 pluggable optical module that spans distances up to 130km. Ranovus will also sell the 200Gbps transmitter and receiver optical engines that can be integrated by vendors onto a host line card. 

The dense WDM direct-detection solution from Ranovus is being positioned as a cheaper, lower-power alternative to coherent optics used for high-capacity metro and long-haul optical transport. Using such technology, service providers can link their data centre buildings distributed across a metro area. 

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Thursday
Sep152016

Former Compass Networks staff look to silicon photonics 

The Compass Networks team that designed a novel chip with optical input-output is exploring new opportunities now that the IP core router venture has closed it doors. 

The team plans to develop chips using silicon photonics for input-output and is involved in a European Commission (EC) Horizon 2020 project dubbed L3Matrix that will make such a chip for the data centre. 

 

Kobi HasharoniCompass Network was the first company to sell a commercial product - an IP core router - that used an ASIC co-packaged with optics. The IP router was sold to several leading service providers including NTT Communications and Comcast but the venture ultimately failed.

Compass Networks has now become a software company, while its chip R&D team decided to spin off to keep the co-packaged IC and photonics technology alive. 

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Sunday
Aug282016

Heterogeneous integration comes of age

Silicon photonics luminaries series

Interview 7: Professor John Bowers

 

August has been a notable month for John Bowers.

Juniper Networks announced its intention to acquire Aurrion, the US silicon photonics start-up that Bowers co-founded with Alexander Fang. And Intel, a company Bowers worked with on a hybrid integration laser-bonding technique, unveiled its first 100-gigabit silicon photonics transceivers.

 

Professor John BowersBower, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), first started working in photonics in 1981 while at AT&T Bell Labs.

When he became interested in silicon photonics, it still lacked a good modulator and laser. "If you don't have a laser and a modulator, or a directly modulated laser, it is not a very interesting chip,” says Bowers. "So I started thinking how to do that."

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Sunday
Aug212016

Intel's 100-gigabit silicon photonics move

Intel has unveiled two 100-gigabit optical modules for the data centre made using silicon photonics technology.

 

Alexis Bjorlin

The PSM4 and CWDM4/CLR4 100-gigabit modules mark the first commercial application of a hybrid integration technique for silicon photonics, dubbed heterogeneous integration, that Intel has been developing for years.

Intel's 100-gigabit module announcement follows the news that Juniper Networks has entered into an agreement to acquire start-up, Aurrion, for $165 million. Aurrion is another silicon photonics player developing this hybrid integration technology for its products. 

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Monday
Aug082016

Juniper Networks to acquire Aurrion for $165 million

The announcement of the acquisition was low key. A CTO blog post and a statement that Juniper Networks had entered into an agreement to acquire Aurrion, the fabless silicon photonics start-up. No fee was mentioned.

However, in the company's US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Juniper values the deal at approximately $165 million. "The Company believes the acquisition will help to fuel its long-term competitive advantage by enabling cost-effective, high-density, high-speed optical networks," it said. The deal is expected to be closed this quarter.

 

Source: Gazettabyte

At first glance, Juniper is simply the latest in a series of systems vendors bringing silicon photonics in-house. Silicon photonics is a technology that allows photonic devices to be made on a silicon substrate, fabricated in a CMOS facility.

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Tuesday
Jul262016

The ecosystem for silicon photonics starts to take shape

Silicon photonics luminaries series

 

Interview 6: imec - Philippe Absil and Joris Van Campenhout

 

Imec has a unique vantage point when it comes to the status and direction of silicon photonics.  

The Belgium nano-electronics research centre gets to see prototype designs nearing commercialisation due to its silicon photonics integration platform and foundry service. “We allow companies to build prototypes using a robust silicon photonics technology,” says Philippe Absil, department director for 3D and optical technologies at imec.

 

Philippe Absil

Imec also works intimately with several partners on longer-term research, one being Huawei. This optical I/O R&D activity is part of imec’s CORE CMOS scaling R&D programme which as well as Huawei includes GlobalFoundries, Intel, Micron, Qualcomm, Samsung, SK Hynix, Sony and TSMC. The research is sufficiently far ahead to be deemed pre-competitive such that all the firms collaborate. 

For silicon photonics, the optical I/O research includes optical integration schemes, new device concepts and new materials. “The aim is to bring silicon photonics technology to the next level in order to resolve today’s challenges,” says Absil.  

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Sunday
Jul242016

OIF starts work on a terabit-plus CFP8-ACO module

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has started a new analogue coherent optics (ACO) specification based on the CFP8 pluggable module.

The CFP8 is the latest is a series of optical modules specified by the CFP Multi-Source Agreement and will support the emerging 400 Gigabit Ethernet standard.

 

Karl GassAn ACO module used for optical transport integrates the optics and driver electronics while the accompanying coherent DSP-ASIC residing on the line card.

Systems vendors can thus use their own DSP-ASIC, or a merchant one if they don’t have an in-house design, while choosing the coherent optics from various module makers. The optics and the DSP-ASIC communicate via a high-speed electrical connector on the line card.

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