Photonic Integration Forum to tackle integration metrics

OCTOBER 2, 2008 By Stephen Hardy � The Optoelectronic Industry Development Association (OIDA) will join with Infinera Corp. next week to host a discussion of the current state of photonic integration and chart a roadmap toward future development in this area.

OCTOBER 2, 2008 By Stephen Hardy � The Optoelectronic Industry Development Association (OIDA; search for OIDA) will join with Infinera Corp. (search for Infinera) next week to host a discussion of the current state of photonic integration and chart a roadmap toward future development in this area. The Photonic Integration Forum, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, will be held October 7-8 at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Monterey, CA. A central focus of the forum will be the development of metrics to measure the progress of integration development, according to a source at Infinera.

The two-day event will combine an array of speakers from industry and academia with breakout sessions devoted to telecom, datacom/computer interconnect, and emerging applications. A full agenda and registration information can be found at http://www.oida.org/events/integration08.

As discussed in an article that will appear in Lightwave's October issue, photonic integration holds significant promise as a means to meet future component requirements for higher speeds, lower power consumption, and smaller size. While integration is well understood in the electronic domain -- it's the basis of Moore's Law -- photonic and optoelectronic integration is in its early stages, with many companies focusing on either hybrid or monolithic paths using a variety of material structures.

While hybrid integration will be addressed during the forum, "definitely a large part of the discussion and focus will be looking at monolithic integration technologies," according to Serge Melle, vice president of technical marketing at photonic integration pioneer Infinera. "But not just limited to indium phosphide; a lot of it will be looking at silicon. And across a wide range of applications � not just telecom, but also data center applications and computing applications as well."

The discussions will also cover the integration of both active and passive functions.

In addition to the identification of areas of continued R&D that may be necessary to bring photonic integration to market and produce increasingly capable devices, how to measure and discuss levels of integration will also be debated, particularly in the breakout sessions. Melle points out that in the electronics world, gates per square centimeter is a common metric for integration. No counterpart currently exists in the photonic domain.

"Oftentimes photonic integrated circuits are more being used for communications or transmission of information. So some examples of metrics that could be tracked would be transmission capacity per chip -- how many gigabits per second of opto-electric I/O capacity you can get per chip. Another one could be the number of components integrated per chip," Melle offers. "Other ones that could be relevant to look at would be reliability, so FIT rate; manufacturability, so, for example, percentage yield; or, for example, power per gigabits per second.

"I think probably the two most relevant would be transmission capacity per chip and components integrated per chip," he adds.

The forum will result in a report from OIDA that Melle describes as "a photonic integration trend map" that will reflect the conclusions of the multi-industry breakout sessions as well as the forum presentations.

"There's been some discussion of photonic integration at fiber-optic conferences like OFC," Melle concludes. "But I don't think anywhere to date in the industry or anywhere in the world has there been such a broad discussion of photonic integration -- and with that, the range of speakers [to be included]."

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