Luxtera single-chip 100-Gbps transceiver targets multiple applications

Able to focus exclusively again on chip development after selling its cabling business to Molex, Luxtera has unveiled a single-chip opto-electronic transceiver that leverages the company’s Silicon CMOS Photonics technology. Company sources expect the device to find a home in active optical cables (AOCs) such as those now the responsibility of Molex as well as optical transceivers, but they have their eyes on other applications that promise more volume.

Able to focus exclusively again on chip development after selling its cabling business to Molex, Luxtera has unveiled a single-chip opto-electronic transceiver that leverages the company’s Silicon CMOS Photonics technology. Company sources expect the device to find a home in active optical cables (AOCs) such as those now the responsibility of Molex as well as optical transceivers, but they have their eyes on other applications that promise more volume.

The new transceiver chip, which measures 5x6 mm, offers 4x28-Gbps transmission over singlemode fiber. Like Luxtera’s previous chips, the device features waveguide, waveguide structures, modulators, couplers, and photodetectors integrated at the wafer level. The photodetectors are germanium, but applied to the wafer using the same CMOS processes as the other devices (see “With detectors licked, Luxtera claims CMOS-based transceivers are at hand”). A single CW laser powers all four channels; it attaches to the CMOS wafer via a hybrid integration process.

With CDRs, the company says the chip will meet the 2.5-W power requirements of the zQSFP module form factor.

According to Chris Bergey, who recently joined Luxtera as vice president of marketing, the chips are sampling now, primarily for use in AOCs as well as 100-Gigabit Ethernet, Optical Transport Network, and EDR InfiniBand applications as well as for short-reach (SR) and very short reach (VSR) backplane interconnect. Many of those who have received samples are systems houses, he reveals.

Transceiver-based applications represent a nice little business, but the company has its eyes on a pair of other scenarios that promise more volume, Bergey told Lightwave. One is an optics-on-board application that could cover both front panel and backplane requirements in high-performance computing applications. The company had targeted this space previously with its 40-Gbps product (see “Luxtera releases OptoPHY transceiver for 40G Ethernet applications”).

The company also hopes to leverage the technology to provide optical chip-to-chip interconnect via hybrid and monolithic integration with other devices, such as switch chips.

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