editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Photonics on Different Silicon

The use of photons as signal carriers has historically gone towards long-distance transport, either over the air (feels like waves more than photons) or within fiber. But the distances of interest have dropped dramatically, to the point where there are discussions of using silicon photonics even for on-chip signaling.

In a conversation at Semicon West with imec’s Ludo Deferm, we discussed their current work. At this point, and for at least 10 years out, he doesn’t see CMOS and photonics co-existing on the same wafer. The bottleneck right now isn’t on-chip; it’s chip-to-chip. 40-60 Gb/s internally is fine for now. Which suggests the use of photonics in a separate chip in, for example, a 3D-IC stack or on an interposer: one for routing signals between the chips in the stack.

That photonic chip would be made with the same equipment as a CMOS chip – a specific goal of the imec work in commercializing silicon photonics, but it starts with a different wafer: SOI, with a thinner silicon layer than you would have in a typical CMOS wafer, and with that thickness (or thinness) tightly controlled to reduce optical losses.

You can read more about imec’s progress in their recent announcement.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Sep 25, 2020
[From the last episode: We looked at different ways of accessing a single bit in a memory, including the use of multiplexors.] Today we'€™re going to look more specifically at memory cells '€“ these things we'€™ve been calling bit cells. We mentioned that there are many...
Sep 25, 2020
Normally, in May, I'd have been off to Unterschleißheim, a suburb of Munich where historically we've held what used to be called CDNLive EMEA. We renamed this CadenceLIVE Europe and... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site...
Sep 24, 2020
I just saw a video from 2012 in which Jeri Ellsworth is strolling around a Makerfaire flaunting her Commodore 64-based bass guitar....
Sep 24, 2020
Samtec works with system architects in the early stages of their design to create solutions for cable management which provide even distribution of thermal load. Using ultra-low skew twinax cable to route signals over the board is a key performance enabler as signal integrity...

Featured Video

DesignWare MIPI C-PHY/D-PHY IP Performance at 24 Gbps

Sponsored by Synopsys

This video features the DesignWare MIPI C-PHY/D-PHY IP interoperating with an image sensor in C-PHY mode up to 3.5 Gsps per trio and D-PHY mode up to 4.5 Gbps per lane, available in FinFET processes for camera and display applications.

More information about Synopsys DesignWare MIPI C-PHY/D-PHY IP

Featured Paper

The Cryptography Handbook

Sponsored by Maxim Integrated

The Cryptography Handbook is designed to be a quick study guide for a product development engineer, taking an engineering rather than theoretical approach. In this series, we start with a general overview and then define the characteristics of a secure cryptographic system. We then describe various cryptographic concepts and provide an implementation-centric explanation of physically unclonable function (PUF) technology. We hope that this approach will give the busy engineer a quick understanding of the basic concepts of cryptography and provide a relatively fast way to integrate security in his/her design.

Click here to download the whitepaper

Featured Chalk Talk

ROHM BD71847AMWV PMIC for the NXP i.MM 8M Mini

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and ROHM Semiconductor

Designing-in a power supply for today’s remarkable applications processors can be a hurdle for many embedded design teams. Creating a solutions that’s small, efficient, and inexpensive demands considerable engineering time and expertise. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Kristopher Bahar of ROHM about some new power management ICs that are small, efficient, and inexpensive.

Click here for more information about ROHM Semiconductor BD71847AMWV Programmable Power Management IC