JUNE 3, 2009 By Stephen Hardy -- Luxtera (search Lightwave for Luxtera) says it has successfully completed development with Freescale of a fabrication process for its silicon CMOS photonic products. While this collaboration required "a number of years" in the words of a Luxtera press release, it does not extend to joint product developments, according to a Luxtera spokesman.
Luxtera previously had used Freescale's prototype production line, according to Luxtera's vice president of marketing, Marek Tlalka. Now that the two companies have established a satisfactory 130-nm SOI CMOS fabrication process for use on a production line at Freescale's Austin, TX, facility, Luxtera's products will benefit from a more stable production source, Tlalka says. Those products include optical transceivers and active optical cable assemblies. Luxtera also has received Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding to develop optical interconnects for chip-to-chip and intra-chip requirements within high-performance computing systems.
The silicon CMOS photonics technology that underpins Luxtera's product lines is designed to enable the integration of optics and electronics on a single CMOS die. For example, Luxtera asserts it can create all the elements of a transceiver, save the laser, through this process. (The laser is integrated in a hybrid fashion.) A layer of germanium is added to the waveguides to create a photodetector. Tlalka says Freescale can handle this step of the process as well as the other silicon CMOS elements.
Tlalka adds that the production line is already up and running to service existing customer requirements. While he could not yet reveal their names, Tlalka says the company already has customers for transceiver products focused on InfiniBand high-performance computing applications.