IBM discusses silicon photonics commercialization strategy

March 11, 2014
Sources at IBM say that product development kits based on the company’s work developing silicon photonics engines for high-speed data center and server connectivity are nearing the alpha stage and should reach full technology qualification next year. The company is now willing to engage potential partners interested in turning the technology into products.

Sources at IBM say that product development kits based on the company’s work developing silicon photonics engines for high-speed data center and server connectivity are nearing the alpha stage and should reach full technology qualification next year. The company is now willing to engage potential partners interested in turning the technology into products.

Speaking at the Optical Society of America’s Executive Forum, held in conjunction with OFC 2014 in San Francisco, IBM’s Yurii Vlasov said that the technology had transitioned from R&D to the company’s products group in late 2012. The product development kits will reah the alpha stage in the second quarter of this year, he revealed.

The silicon photonics platform will support four to eight channels of 25 Gbps each with a reach beyond 500 m over duplex singlemode fiber. The chip-on-board package is compatible with flip-chip die attachment (see “The promise & perils of silicon photonics” for more details).

IBM hopes of find partners willing to use the technology to create optical interconnects for IBM’s servers, among other applications. It is will to work with these partners at a variety of levels, Vlasov said. These include close co-development to the supply of foundry services.

In response to a question from the audience, Vlasov said that the company is considering offering its silicon photonics foundry capabilities to the market at large, but has not reached a final decision on the matter.

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