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Silicon photonics integrated solution for 400G, 800G transceivers

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By Rich Pell

Silicon photonics technology developer DustPhotonics and semiconductor company MaxLinear have announced that they have partnered to demonstrate a silicon photonics chipset with integrated lasers directly driven from a DSP without the use of any external driver chip, providing exceptional total system performance. The MaxLinear Keystone DSP (Digital Signal Processor) and DustPhotonics Carmel Silicon Photonics chip were shown together to support direct-drive operation, which reduces the overall cost and power dissipation of optical transceivers for data communication.

This combined solution, say the companies, is ideal for applications such as 400Gb/s and 800Gb/s pluggable modules and on-board optics. The DustPhotonics chip includes an integrated DFB (Distributed-feedback) laser and the company’s Low Loss Laser Coupling technology (L3C), achieving a very efficient coupling of light into the Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC), enabling the use of one laser for every four channels.

The MaxLinear Keystone chip is part of a family of DSPs capable of both 400Gb/s and 800Gb/s operation, based on TSMC’s 5nm process. The Keystone DSP is offered as providing a rich set of features for transceivers, CPO (Co-Packaged Optics) modules and on-board optics while achieving significantly lower power than competitive solutions. The integrated drivers are optimized for silicon photonics direct-drive and provide the best industry performance for this application.

The combined solution, say the companies, enables performance that significantly exceeds all IEEE specifications. In terms of power consumption, 400Gb/s transceivers can now be designed to reach sub 7W.

“DustPhotonics is focused on enabling best-in-class Silicon Photonics chips to simplify the efforts of transceiver and systems designers,” says Yoel Chetrit, Vice President R&D of DustPhotonics. “Not only can our Carmel chip simplify the overall system design by reducing the total number of lasers to a single laser for four channels, but it also eliminates the external driver, which reduces the cost, power and complexity of the overall system.”

Drew Guckenberger, Vice President of Optical Interconnect at MaxLinear adds, “The combination of our Keystone 5nm integrated driver DSPs with DustPhotonics’ silicon photonics demonstrates the significant power and performance advantages achievable with our integrated drivers. With double-digit year-on-year growth in market demand for 400Gb/s and 800Gb/s transceivers, this integrated solution can create tremendous value for our customers. We look forward to seeing full transceiver deployments in the near future”

DustPhotonics
MaxLinear


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