Luxtera ships one-millionth silicon CMOS photonics-enabled 10G channel

Luxtera Inc., a developer of CMOS-based silicon photonics components and modules, says it has shipped its one-millionth 10-Gbps channel. The company says the milestone is significant because it validates the growing demand for silicon photonics in data centers and computer clusters.

Luxtera Inc., a developer of CMOS-based silicon photonics components and modules, says it has shipped its one-millionth 10-Gbps channel. The company says the milestone is significant because it validates the growing demand for silicon photonics in data centers and computer clusters.

Luxtera says it is the only provider of silicon photonics shipping in significant commercial volume today. Silicon photonics offers a reliable, low-cost yet high-performance option compared to traditional technologies such as vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), the company claims.

The company asserts the milestone indicates the maturity of its processes and their applicability to meet the needs of high-performance computing and next-generation networking platforms on a larger scale. Silicon photonics is emerging as the next-generation interconnect technology, the company says, with 10 petabits of transceiver bandwidth shipped in total.

"The announcement today is an important milestone for the optical industry," agreed Brad Smith, vice president and industry analyst at LightCounting.com, a firm that specializes in optical transceiver market research. "Silicon CMOS Photonics can no longer be characterized as the technology of the future, it appears it is ready to be front and center as the technology of today.

"The number of channels shipped is impressive, but even more impressive is that this milestone was achieved in a market that is cost sensitive, and the competing solution was often a VCSEL-based cable," he concluded.

For Luxtera, this announcement is the culmination of 11 years of research and development work (see "Luxtera touts 10-Gbit CMOS capabilities"). At least some of the channel shipments came via the company's line of active optical cables, a business it sold to Molex in January 2011 (see "Molex buys Luxtera’s active optical cable line").

Recognizing its benefits, silicon photonics continues to be the focus of many research efforts around the world, most notably IBM and Intel. The technology has made news recently as the enabling building block in the race for building computers at an exascale (1018 byte) level.

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