Inphi sampling 400G DR4 silicon photonics platform

Dec. 3, 2020
The line includes a silicon photonics integrated circuit (PIC), a flip chip transimpedance amplifier (TIA), and an analog controller. The devices complement Inphi’s Porrima PAM4 digital signal processor (DSP).

Ahead of next week’s ECOC 2020 virtual event, Inphi Corp. (NASDAQ: IPHI) has announced it is sampling a 400G DR4 silicon photonics platform portfolio. The line includes a silicon photonics integrated circuit (PIC), a flip chip transimpedance amplifier (TIA), and an analog controller. The devices complement Inphi’s Porrima PAM4 digital signal processor (DSP).

Inphi identifies the following as key elements of the 400G DR4 silicon photonics platform:

  • A complete silicon photonics transceiver with four low-loss transmit Mach-Zehnder modulators and four high-responsivity receive photodiodes
  • A low-power, flip chip TIA with what Inphi asserts is excellent sensitivity, overload, and error floor
  • An analog controller IC designed to replace multiple discrete components for laser bias, configuration, and monitoring of silicon photonics, and TIA control
  • Inphi’s Porrima Gen3 low-power, PAM4 DSP with integrated 56-Gbaud laser driver (see "Third generation of Inphi Porrima PAM4 platform offers more features, lower power, smaller size").

Inphi says it can provide the benefits of high-volume silicon wafer scale manufacturing to customers by offering the option to buy the 400G DR4 PICs in full 200-mm wafer form. This approach enables customers to receive silicon PIC wafers direct from an Inphi fab partner and use them in their own high-volume wafer scale manufacturing and 3-D heterogenous integration processes.

At least one optical transceiver vendor has applauded the announcement. “Cloud Light is a premier supplier of advanced optical modules for data center interconnect and has a strong heritage of design and manufacturing with silicon photonic devices,” said Matt Davis, vice president of sales and marketing for Hong Kong-based Cloud Light Technology Ltd., which spun out of TDK Corp. in 2018. “We are excited about Inphi’s silicon photonics solution and look forward to working with them to offer a compelling cost per bit solution for the industry.”

“Inphi has been the leading force to define and create a PAM4 ecosystem of optical modules for cloud and data center networks,” said Dr. Loi Nguyen, founder and senior vice president, optical interconnect at Inphi. “I believe today’s announcement will mark the beginning of a new era of the ‘fabless optics’ industry. Optical transceiver manufacturers can leverage silicon high volume wafer scale in the manufacturing of transceivers without owning a fab.”

Inphi will partner with Cloud Light to show off the 400G DR4 silicon photonics platform as part of ECOC’s virtual exhibition December 7-9, 2020.

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